Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What’s fair use?

An Orac post and the ensuing comment thread examine the case of another Science Blogger who reproduced a figure in her report on a paper from a Wiley Interscience nutrition journal. (BTW, Wiley journals are very closed access—as closed as they come, as in locked up tighter than a drum).

Within a day of her report she received a letter from Wiley demanding that the figure be removed, and threatening legal action. As Orac asks, isn’t the inclusion of the figure, with its appropriate attribution and its use for the purpose of criticism, an example of fair use? And doesn’t the “amount and substantiality” of the reproduced content (one figure---it’s not as if she reproduced the whole thing) fall within the boundaries of fair use?

This should be of great interest to bloggers, who do this sort of thing a lot. As this gets passed around the blogosphere the reaction is likely to be overwhelmingly negative. Let’s hope some experts weigh in and let’s hope Wiley notices.

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