Fair Use: A Vital Copyright Exception in Bangladesh Encouraging Creativity and Expression

By Miraj

What is Fair Use?

Fair use is a fundamental copyright exemption that plays an important role in supporting creativity, free expression, and knowledge expansion. Fair use is enshrined in copyright laws in many countries, including Bangladesh’s Copyright Act 2000. It provides a restricted set of conditions in which copyrighted work can be used without any kind of permission from the rights holder and without compensating the copyright holder in certain cases.

Determining Fair Use:

The determination of whether a particular use qualifies as fair use depends on several factors, including the purpose of the use, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount used in relation to the whole work, and the effect of the use on the market value of the copyrighted work. For instance, using a small portion of a copyrighted book for educational purposes may generally be considered fair use, while using the entire book for commercial gain would likely not qualify.

Significance of the doctrine of Fair Use:

Fair use is critical in copyright law because it strikes a careful balance between the rights of copyright holders and the larger public interest. It is a fundamental notion that permits for limited use of copyrighted material without getting permission from the copyright holder or risking legal ramifications. Fair use promotes creativity, expression, and the free flow of information by allowing activities such as criticism, comment, news reporting, education, and transformational works. It promotes open conversation and cultural preservation, as well as educational endeavors and innovation. While exclusive rights of copyright holders are necessary for motivating creation, an unduly restrictive approach may inhibit creativity, limit research, and impede the flow of ideas. Fair use protects society from such potential harm by guaranteeing that it can benefit. Fair use protects society from such potential harm by guaranteeing that it can benefit from the transformative power of creative works while preserving the rights of original authors. Its use is contextual, taking into account elements such as the intended use’s purpose, type, amount used, and market impact. Finally, fair use is an important tool for protecting both authors’ interests and the general public’s right to access and use intellectual and creative works for the collective good of society.

Section 72 of Bangladesh’s Copyright Act of 2000:

The fair use doctrine is reflected in Section 72 of the Copyright Act 2000 in Bangladesh, which describes the exact situations under which the use of copyrighted content is permissible without the permission of the rights holder.

Fair use is permitted for the following purposes, according to this section:

  1. Research or Private Study: Individuals may utilise copyrighted works for personal research or private study, enabling them unrestricted access to information and expertise.
  2. Criticism or Review: Fair use permits the use of copyrighted content in critical reviews or comments, such as snippets from books or films, to analyse and evaluate the merits of the original work.
  3. Reporting Current Events: Media outlets and journalists can use copyrighted content to report current events, providing the public with accurate and up-to-date information.
  4. Judicial Proceedings and Legal Advice: Fair use allows copyrighted content to be used in legal proceedings and for legal advice, ensuring access to relevant information in legal procedures.

Fair use empowers various sectors in Bangladesh, including education, journalism, research, and creative expression, by allowing them to draw from copyrighted works without facing legal repercussions. It promotes the development of new ideas, encourages critical thinking, and enhances the overall cultural and educational landscape of the country.

In conclusion, fair use is a vital copyright exception in Bangladesh, as provided under Section 72 of the Copyright Act 2000. It strikes a balance between protecting the rights of creators and promoting the greater public interest in accessing, utilizing, and building upon copyrighted works. The clear provisions in the law ensure that fair use remains a valuable and flexible doctrine, fostering creativity and freedom of expression while respecting the rights of copyright owners in Bangladesh.