Confused about Copyright and Fair Use? That’s Understandable…


The folk singer Woody Guthrie would frequently attach a serious warning regarding copyright to copies of his lyric sheets. This sobering statement informed one and all that:

“This song is copyrighted in U.S.A. under seal of copyright #154084, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singing it without our permission will be mighty good friends of ours ‘cause we don’t give a darn.”

Guthrie’s sentiment regarding copyright, it is important to remember, is not particularly reflective of the sentiment of many copyright holders. After all, many of those who hold various copyrights give quite “a darn” and are willing to prove just how much they care by threatening legal action. There are certainly some who like to claim that copyright has become obsolete in the age of the Internet, and there are numerous individuals who have demonstrated a thoroughly modern disregard for copyright by downloading copyrighted content in…

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