Skip to content

Rebecca Tushnet, User-Generated Discontent: Transformation in Practice, 31 Colum J.L. & Arts 497 (2008).

Abstract: Fair use is the province of creators, not lawyers. That is the thrust of a number of initiatives designed to make fair use salient to ordinary people in their capacities as creators. Copyright myths and legends are, of course, widespread. What this paper focuses on, however, are organized or semi-organized attempts to articulate fair use principles, usually centered on the concept of transformativeness, from the perspective of individual creators who routinely expect to criticize, comment on, or just quote existing copyrighted materials as part of their new works. Usergenerated fair use principles can be informed by case law, but they are not limited by it. Reciprocally, nonlawyers’ concepts of transformativeness could enrich legal understandings of the appropriate boundaries of fair use.