[Air-L] Reproducing brand generated social media content?

Nathaniel Poor natpoor at gmail.com
Wed Jan 14 07:41:04 PST 2015

I think about once a year some list or other that I am on gets a variation of this question. Given that, we are doing a horrible job of educating doctoral students and junior faculty about fair use in the US (and fair dealings in most or all Commonwealth countries but that's beyond my ken).

I suggest this page: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html
Which in part says:
"...examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: '...quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations...' "

I do, however, take exception to this quote from the same page:
"The safest course is to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material."
So when the copyright owner says no, you don't copy the content, and you are giving up your legal rights. If it's fair use you do not need to ask. I also take exception to all the content creators and culture industry trade groups such as the RIAA and the MPAA which take this angle. I recall coasters from the RIAA at a student bar in Michigan when I was a grad student which clearly and intentionally mischaracterized fair use.

My professional take on this is that we are far too hesitant about fair use, and are allowing the culture industry and content creators far too much hegemonic power over restricting fair use. 

Cornell has some clear information on it:
"...the fair use of a copyrighted work..., for purposes such as... scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."
Granted it's generally understood not the whole thing if we're talking a book or an article, but a tweet or even a dozen from out of... dozens? hundreds? from an account is not an infringement. News organizations republish tweets all the time.

Also, the awesome Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi:
First excerpt: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120509/03251018840/combating-culture-fear-doubt-reclaiming-fair-use-techdirts-may-book-club-choice.shtml
Second excerpt: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120518/14425418976/how-does-fair-use-fit-into-critique-copyright.shtml
Third excerpt: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120530/17242519131/fair-use-public-domain-creative-commons-theyre-not-all-same.shtml

> or otherwise find myself in hot water over this.

With whom?

> I obviously can't embed content in a manuscript that will eventually end up in print,

Why not? That is what fair use is for. That's how we publish quotes from journal articles in journal articles.

> On Jan 12, 2015, at 5:05 PM, Linnea Irina Laestadius <llaestad at uwm.edu> wrote:
> Hi all,
> I'm hoping someone can give me guidance on rules surrounding the reproduction of brand generated social media content in journal articles (e.g. An Instagram post or tweet from an account owned by a major corporation like Nike or McDonald's). I'm trying to document brand practices on social media, and so including some screen captures of actual posts in the manuscript is key. I'm not so much concerned about the ethics of it since it's corporate generated content designed to be seen by the public, but I also don't want to violate the TOS or otherwise find myself in hot water over this. I obviously can't embed content in a manuscript that will eventually end up in print, but perhaps a screen capture of the output from the official embed tools would be safest. Thoughts?
> Linnea
> Linnea I. Laestadius, PhD, MPP
> Assistant Professor
> Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health
> University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
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Nathaniel Poor, Ph.D.

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