Originally published: January 12, 2010
Last updated: January 12, 2010 - 10:09pm
The White House's deputy chief technology officer said Tuesday that while the Obama administration believes in the fair use of content, it should not be used as an excuse for copyright infringement.
Andrew McLaughlin made the comment at Public Knowledge's Fair Use Day event that explored the doctrine of fair use, which is the legal right that allows for particular uses of copyrighted materials. McLaughlin said the administration will continue to aggressively enforce intellectual property laws but also believes that Americans should have the right to take advantage of the fair use of copyrighted works. "These two things must coexist and need not be seen as inherently in conflict," said McLaughlin, a former Google executive. He did note that the administration has made a shift in favor of fair use compared with previous administrations when it comes to providing access to copyrighted materials to the blind and visually impaired.
A U.S. delegation in December indicated support at a World Intellectual Property Organization meeting for international "consensus" on providing "basic, necessary limitations and exceptions in copyright law for persons with print disabilities," according to the delegation's statement from the meeting. The U.S. delegation said this "consensus" could come in the form of a model law, a joint recommendation adopted by WIPO or a multilateral treaty.
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