AAUP Seeks Fair Use Exemption from Copyright Act


In 2014, the AAUP joined a nationwide effort to obtain an exemption to the copyright laws that protect authors’ rights to fair use in the digital age. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) imposes criminal and civil liability on creators who circumvent technologies like encryption that protect copyrighted works. This poses a problem for authors who want to access works legally in order to make fair use of those works. In October 2015, the Librarian of Congress approved our exemption; authors are now allowed to “rip” from DVDs, Blu-ray, or online media for use in nonfiction multimedia e-books offering film analysis.

The exemption process occurs every three years, and we are currently seeking to modify the 2015 exemption so that it applies to all e-books—not just for film analysis—and we need your help. In the past, specific examples of authors wanting to practice fair use but not being able to because of the DMCA have been very persuasive. We need your help to get information about your work and how it has been affected by the DMCA.


Nancy Long is associate counsel in the AAUP national office.

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