Submitted by: Jessica Trippe
Photo by: Jessica Trippe
The intricacies of law can often be confusing. During the February Pensters meeting, guest speaker Mike Odom offered some tips for writers hoping to gain an understanding of copyright law. Odom opened the presentation by displaying a miniature of the Gutenberg press along with a cell phone, citing the long and evolving history associated with securing an author’s claim on their work.
When Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution was penned, it provided an exclusive right for authors to protect their writings for a limited time. Still, there are some exceptions to every rule. Odom discussed the “Fair Use” doctrine, specifying four factors used to determine whether or not portions of a work may be used without permission.
Throughout the session, Pensters members and guests were afforded the opportunity to discuss several key questions, analyzing what aspects of copyright law might come into play in each given situation. Odom provided examples from actual cases to aid in the debate.
Helpful resources on copyright law:
US Copyright Office (copyright.gov)
Creative Commons (creativecommons.org)
Creative Commons Search (search.creativecommons.org)
Google Reverse Image Search [to find the copyright holder of an image]
Center for the Study of the Public Domain (law.duke.edu/cspd)