This week is Fair Use Week, according to the Association of Research Libraries, and that's as good a time as any to remind everyone that it's wrong to refer to fair as merely a "limitation or exception" to copyright law -- or merely a defense to infringement. It is a right that is protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court has regularly referred to "fair use" as a "safeguard" of the First Amendment, allowing copyright law to be compatible with the First Amendment. As such, it seems bizarre that fair use is not seen as the default, rather than the other way around. If we are to protect the First Amendment, and not allow for speech to be stifled, at the very least, we need a greater recognition of the importance of fair use in guaranteeing that the First Amendment's principles of free speech are allowed to thrive.
Brig C. McCoy
Network Services Manager
Kansas City, Kansas Public Library
625 Minnesota Ave
Kansas City, Kansas 64114