Civil law judges are more than capable of applying fair use
So concluded Professor Brandon Butler during an EIFL webinar on fair use and the blurred lines between common law and civil law legal traditions

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Professor Brandon Butler, American University Washington College of Law (WCL) was a guest speaker at an EIFL webinar on 28 October 2015 on fair use, open norms and the blurred lines between common law and civil law legal traditions.

The presentation covered four main aspects: Fair Use and Fair Dealing - what they are, their popularity, and their utility; Civil Law and Common Law - their alleged differences and actual similarities; Blurred lines - the ways that civil and common law systems are similar, especially for copyright; and how Fair Use is predictable and useful for libraries.

Prof Butler then discussed commonly held objections to the more widespread introduction of open norms in other countries. Since civil law judges routinely apply broad law to specific facts all the time, they are more than capable of applying fair use, concluded Prof Butler, and people are more than capable of benefiting from fair use in a civil law system (and the advantages it brings).

The webinar was attended by 18 participants from 12 countries - Albania, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Palestine, Poland, Senegal, Spain, US.

Participants asked an interesting variety of questions such as the difference between fair use and free use, can fair use be applied outside the US for US publications, how much of a book may be copied for research purposes, and can fair use accommodate digitization by libraries.

A big thanks to Prof Butler for the clear and insightful presentation!

Download the webinar slides or instantpresenter view the webinar recording.

Read the companion blog Fair use and blurred lines between common law and civil law countries.