Fair Use Affirmed In Turnitin Case

Hugh Pickens writes “The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an opinion affirming a ruling that will be cheered by digital fair use proponents for allowing a fair use of students’ work when their teachers electronically file students’ written work with the turnitin.com Web site so that newly submitted work can be compared against Turnitin’s database of existing student work to assess whether the new work is the result of plagiarism. The court stepped through the fair use analysis, dropping positive notes that affirm commercial uses can be fair uses, that a use can be transformative ‘in function or purpose without altering or actually adding to the original work,’ and that the entirety of a work can be used without precluding a finding of fair use. Techdirt suggests that all of these points could have been helpful to Google in defending its book scanning efforts, ‘since it could make pretty much the identical arguments on all points.’ Unfortunately Google caved in that lawsuit and settled, ‘denying a strong fair use precedent and making Google look like an easy place for struggling industries to demand cash.'”

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