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A Pattern-Oriented Approach To Fair Use, Michael J. Madison Jan 2004

A Pattern-Oriented Approach To Fair Use, Michael J. Madison

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More than 150 years into development of the doctrine of "fair use" in American copyright law, there is no end to legislative, judicial, and academic efforts to rationalize the doctrine. Its codification in the 1976 Copyright Act appears to have contributed to its fragmentation, rather than to its coherence. This Article suggests that fair use is neither badly conceived nor badly applied, but that it is too often badly understood. As did much of copyright law, fair use originated as a judicially-unacknowledged effort via the law to validate certain favored social practices and patterns. In the main, it has continued …