Today's New York Times has an interesting piece on D.J. Girl Talk, whose album Feed the Animals consists of dance songs made up of very short snippets of other artists' songs. Reporter Robert Levine says that Girl Talk "doesn’t get the permission of the composers to use these samples, as
United States copyright law mostly requires, because he maintains that
the brief snippets he works with are covered by copyright law’s “fair
use” principle (and perhaps because doing so would be prohibitively
expensive)." Next month Duke Press will be publishing Bound by Law? Tales from the Public Domain, a new expanded edition of a popular comic book that explores the issue of fair use as it pertains to documentary filmmaking in particular. Levine writes, "Fair use has become important to the thinking of legal scholars,
sometimes called the 'copyleft,' who argue that copyright law has grown
so restrictive that it impedes creativity." Authors Keith Aoki, James Boyle, and Jennifer Jenkins would certainly agree.