Fair Use Protection Limits Common Law Copyright Claims Over Sound Recordings in New York

17 02 2009

Author: Robert Orlando Lopez

This was a case of first impression for fair use as a defense against common law copyright infringement of a sound recording. For the first time, the court defined the doctrine of fair use in New York and applied it to sound recordings. Fair use applied to the sound recording regardless of its publication since the song was subject to ‘de facto publication’ and dissemination. The court then looked to both the history of common law copyright in New York and the current federal statute for guidance about fair use. The court applied the federal fair use factors: the purpose and character of use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantially of use, and the effect on the market.


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