We've seen a number of questionable fair use rulings lately, so it's always nice to see a good one. The musical play Jersey Boys was apparently sued (or, more specifically, its producers, Dodger Productiongs, were) a while back by SOFA Entertainment, who holds the copyrights on The Ed Sullivan Show. Someone from SOFA went to see Jersey Boys and flipped out when they saw a 7-second clip of the Ed Sullivan Show being used at one point. The clip includes Ed Sullivan introducing the band on the show, and, in the play, the band then plays while a narrator explains how this was a key moment in the band's history.
A district court ruled that this was obviously fair use and slapped attorneys fees on SOFA entertainment, and now a 9th Circuit appeals court has upheld the ruling with a short and sweet ruling that reminds people how important fair use is -- and mildly berates the lawyers for SOFA for bothering to bring such a case in the first place. First, the court notes that copyright law can be abused, and how fair use is an important way to prevent that abuse:
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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc