Reassurances about fair-use benefits ring hollow to publishers
André Myburgh: ‘The digitisation exercises must have left Google with the biggest library in the world, without having bought a single book’
Ostensible reassurances about the benefits of the introduction of "fair use" in South African copyright law need deeper scrutiny (Why fears about ‘fair use’ copyright law are unfounded, August 4). Like American University’s Sean Flynn, I spent the first week of August in Parliament’s public hearings on the Copyright Amendment Bill and my experience there of unfounded claims about "fair use" was quite different. Parliament was entertained with a recital of a poem quoting tiny excerpts from songs, with the claim that "fair use" was necessary so the poem would not infringe copyright. I and most, if not all, the other copyright lawyers in the room, were quite certain that it would not infringe copyright under the existing act. Much was made in Parliament and in the Google-sponsored workshop that preceded it, both addressed by Flynn, about the supposedly benefits of "fair use" for creative purposes. Far less attention was given to recent developments in US law on the application of "fair...