Stanford University

News Service


NEWS RELEASE

8/13/96

CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (415) 723-2558

COMMENT: Michael Keller, University Librarian and Director of Academic Information Resources (415) 723-5553


Stanford Libraries sponsor Copyright and Fair Use Web site

STANFORD -- Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources, in collaboration with the Council on Library Resources and FindLaw Internet Legal Resources, are sponsors of a new Copyright and Fair Use site on the World Wide Web (http://fairuse.stanford.edu/).

The collaboration is aimed at improving the extent and quality of the debate regarding copyright and fair use by improving access to laws, documents of relevant U.S. court cases and related commentary.

The Copyright and Fair Use Web site assembles for the first time in one location a wide range of materials related to the controversial issue of the use of copyrighted material by individuals, libraries and educational institutions.

FindLaw Internet Legal Resources (http://www.findlaw.com) provided much of the material for the new site, as well as the organizational and navigational rationale. Stanford University Libraries' Academic Text Service provided technological support by scanning the material and preparing it for mounting on the Web. The Council on Library Resources provided partial funding and shares responsiblity for oversight and maintenance.

The Web site includes links that provide users with access to an array of primary materials concerning fair use and copyright, including statutes, federal opinions, regulations and treaty texts. It also has links to current legislation, legal cases and issues.

On the home page, for example, browsers can link to the patent and copyright clause of the U.S. Constitution or refer to international treaties and conventions governing the protection of literary and artistic works. Case law and judicial opinions include those handed down involving Basic Books, Encyclopedia Britannica, the National Rifle Association and Gulf Oil Corp.

The Copyright Website!provides information to "infonauts, netsurfers, webspinners, content providers, musicians, appropriationists, activists, infringers, outlaws and law-abiding citizens." Visitors can sign the guest book and read up on famous copyright infringements. A popular link tells the story of the successful suit by Bright Tunes Music Corp. against former Beatles musician George Harrison, alleging that his song "My Sweet Lord" was copied from the chart-topping "He's So Fine," composed by Ronald Mack and performed by the Chiffons. The court concluded that Harrison had infringed on the copyright, noting in its opinion that "his subconscious knew it already had worked in a song his conscious did not remember."

Current links on the Copyright and Fair Use site take users to basic copyright information; National Information Infrastructure bills, testimonies and position papers; and specifics of the Michigan Document Services case. The site will continue to add more briefs from previous cases, such as American Geophysical Union v. Texaco, Inc.

The site itself is impartial, and seeks to improve the quality of the fair use debate by providing a mix of informative material. All material on the site is full-text searchable and includes several cases relevant to the fair use debate that can be found on the Web only at this site. Briefs of the Michigan Document Services case, for example, are available at this site.

Users who wish to send comments and suggestions can do so by e-mail to copyright@findlaw.com.

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