kitchen table math, the sequel: When Fair Use Isn't Fair

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

When Fair Use Isn't Fair

Update: "Tomorrow the hammer's coming down hard over the 'Fair Use' issue..."

Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog: When Fair Use Isn't Fair

Shelly over at Retrospectacle was threatened with legal action when she used one figure and one chart from a scientific paper published in the Journal of Science of Food and Agriculture, with full citation of course.

She took down the offending figure and chart and reproduced the data in excel, but there is principle here. Apparently the Journal didn't like the spin she was putting on the data.

This sets a bad precedent. Education researchers could conceivably ask us bloggers to not use published data to make points against the establishment.

Re: Antioxidants in Berries Increased by Ethanol (but Are Daiquiris Healthy?) by Shelly Bats

http://scienceblogs.com/retrospectacle/2007/04/antioxidants_in_berries_increa.php

The above article contains copyrighted material in the form of a table and graphs taken from a recently published paper in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. If these figures are not removed immediately, lawyers from John Wiley & Sons will contact you with further action.

Go read for yourself.

You may contact the publishers at the following to let them know what you think.

Update: The issue has been resolved... I have removed the contact details.

3 comments:

Tracy said...

Epstein Posner argues that overclaiming of property rights should become a wrong actionable under common law. So, if a lawyer sends out a letter like this, which clearly violates the fair use provisions of copyright, they should be found liable by courts.

This case provides some more support for his argument.

Catherine Johnson said...

Epstein Posner argues that overclaiming of property rights should become a wrong actionable under common law. So, if a lawyer sends out a letter like this, which clearly violates the fair use provisions of copyright, they should be found liable by courts.

Not that I know much about this (though I do know a little, by virtue of my job), but I think they've overstepped.

I wonder whether the blogger should set up a fund to hire an attorney to make a point about this?

Culex said...

This particular paper reported on research conducted by U.S. Government employees at a U.S. Government facility. "Any report, article, or other paper prepared by employees of the Federal Government as part of their official duties is, under the Copyright Act, a "work of the United States Government" for which copyright protection under Title 17 of the United States Code is not available."