Skip to content

Rebecca Tushnet, Copy This Essay: How Fair Use Doctrine Harms Free Speech and How Copying Serves It, 114 Yale L.J. 535 (2004).

Abstract: Recent cases and scholarship have debated whether copyright law is consistent with the First Amendment. Much of the discussion has centered on copyright law's ability to suppress transformative, creative reuses of copyrighted works and on copyright's fair use doctrine as a mechanism to protect such transformative uses. This Essay argues that the increasing centrality of transformativeness to fair use has made it easier for copyright owners to control all instances of ordinary copying. Yet pure copying also serves valuable First Amendment purposes, both for audiences and, less obviously, for speakers, for whom copying often serves interests in self-expression, persuasion, and participation.