What’s Wrong with Copyright Law?

We need Copyright laws to protect creativity. Without Copyright laws, we would not only deprive artists, authors, and other creative types of a proper system of redress, but also discourage their creativity. Indeed, the simple notion that inventions and useful arts should be afforded protection has been memorialized in writing by our founders in the U.S. Constitution.

Today, however, due to advancements in technology and this trending motivation to exploit imperfect legislation, we are seeing a different kind of use for Copyright law that surely departs from the intentions of our founders and our legislature. We find ourselves in an era of Copyright trolling.
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Should it be considered fair use for artists to take a photographer’s work and transform it for profit?

In Cariou v. Prince, 714 F.3d 694 (2nd Cir. 2013), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently looked at this issue and answered, “yes”. Well, at least they reversed the lower court’s judgment in part, vacated that judgment in part, and remanded it in part. I understand this is legalese, so for now let’s just say that the Second Circuit said “yes” even though that’s not entirely accurate.

Today we’re looking at the Cariou-Prince case, which has a lot of people in the art community quite upset. At the end of this article, you get to play lawyer so bare with me until then.

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