Navigate / search

Intellectual Property: Fair Dealing and Public Interest

Fair use is a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work. ‘Fair Use’ allows limited use of copyrighted material without the need to get permission from the copyright holders. It makes provision for the legal, unlicensed citation or inclusion of copyrighted materials in another author’s work.  There are numerous examples of fair use including criticism, review, commentary, search engines, parody, journalism, research, teaching, archiving and scholarship.

A significant statement on what constitutes fair dealing was given by Lord Dunning MR in the case of Hubbard v Vosper (1972). In 1971 the book ‘The Mind Benders’ was published.  It was written by Mr. Cyril Vosper, the first defendant, and published by Neville Spearman Ltd., the second defendants. It was very critical of the cult of Scientology.  On the same day the Church of Scientology of California went to the judge and obtained from them (ex parte) an interim injunction to restrain the publication of the book. Read more

Invisible Colleges and Owning Our Common Intellectual Heritage

The 17th century holds an important history in the development of thought.  It saw people like Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes formulate questioning ways of thinking in our world, encouraging and establishing cultures of exploring the world in which we live, and cultivating a personal relationship with the knowledge of the universe. They confronted the taboo of personal ownership of knowledge through the embracing of skepticism – the need to query the things we have been told and think we know are true – and the application of their efforts to question the ‘regimes of truth’ (a phrase which Professor Penny Jane Burke coins) which existed in their time, as now.

Rene Descartes is a critical figure in modern Western philosophy who lived from 1596 to 1650. His skeptic methodology deeply affected Western cultures and set the scene for more open intellectual enquiry. Through formulating his famous method of doubt he shifted the debate from “what is true” to “of what can I be certain?”.  To this he is best known for the philosophical statement is “Cogito ergo sum” – “I think, therefore I am”.  This provided a revolutionary basis for the questioning of traditions of thinking which had stretched across the medievel period. Read more