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PA Forward: Fair Use Week


Instructional Services Librarian, Lycoming College
Instructional Services Librarian, Lycoming College

by Melissa Correll

Mark your calendars: the week of Monday, February 22nd to Friday, February 26th is Fair Use Week!fair us bitmap

Fair Use Week is a new initiative that aims to raise awareness of fair use issues. It first grew out of the Harvard campus in 2014, and is now becoming more widespread.

While the Association of Research Libraries coordinates this annual observance, its importance stretches beyond academic libraries.  Fair use is commonly misunderstood, and everyone benefits from knowing more about their rights around using information.

You don’t need a copyright expert on staff for your library to get involved with Fair Use Week! Here are some simple ideas you can implement easily to spread the word about Fair Use to your patrons:

  • Create a poster that explains what fair use is
  • Stage a display of items in your collection that could not exist without their right to fair use
    • Think mashups like Pride and Prejudice with Zombies, parody or satire such as Saturday Night Live or The Daily Show, referential works from artists like Duchamp or Warhol, as well as music featuring samples, such as The Sugarhill Gang or Girl Talk
  • Host a viewing of the ACRL Presents webcast Fair Use Factors: Their History and Application on Thursday, February 25th
  • Throw a Fair Use Art Party, inviting your patrons to create their own mashups by making collages from old magazines or discarded books
  • Promote fair use by creating materials explaining the four factors of fair use or Creative Commons licensing
    • Post materials online or print them so patrons can referinformation literacyence them later

With any of these easy ideas, you are helping patrons become more information literate about their usage rights. Now that’s something to celebrate!


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