The awkward copyright collision of Fair Use and Creative Commons


But Fair Use is an exemption from copyright enforcement- it is not a transfer of rights. There is no conceivable reading of Fair Use that allows an image user to then broker permissions for other users. Journal X cannot license my work away from me without my say so. They do not have standing to apply a CC license to my work.

The solution should be easy enough. Journal X could exempt contributed images from their blanket CC-license, and they should ensure the images are not atomized and separated from the rest of the paper. The Fair Use of images depends on their context within the publication, anyway.


As in the scientific papers and books I've been involved with they need permissions for reuse of all pictures/photos/figures etc that are not the property of the author so they can specifically control the rights for all sides. They need official permission so that they can host it, print it in their journal for one thing.
Interesting to read that they apply a cc license on all their papers. Which journals are these? The authors are the ones making the decisions there and so are the ones responsible for copyright infringement.

Yes fair use shouldn't have to be regulated but this sort of problem is why rules exist and is exactly why normally authors have to jump through hoops to get other peoples work included in their article, book chapter etc. So interesting to hear how some other places do it.

I'm still unclear on how this is a fair use issue. The photographer suggests that he normally allows scientists to use his copyrighted works. That's not fair use, that a license, if an informal one. The use that the journal wishes to make is against the provisions of that license, so the photographer rejects the use. Just as he would presumably reject a use that involved the journal transferring all rights to the company after publication. (This makes me wonder if he ever actually read the copyright agreements which he should have had to sign for his work to be used in publications.)

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