Transformative Use: What do Elvis and Harry Potter imitators have in common?

Margaret DeLacy's picture


This is a re-post from our sister list H-HistBibl.  The article referenced can be found online in full-text and is worth reading if you might be affected by American copyright law or court decisions on Fair Use by scholars.


Article of interest:

Matthew D. Bunker, “Decoding Academic Fair Use: Transformative Use and the Fair Use Doctrine in Scholarship,” Journal of Copyright in Education and Librarianship, 3 no. 1 (2019).


Fair use in copyright law is an enormously complex legal doctrine.  Although much scholarly attention has been paid to fair use in the context of teaching — particularly in on-line education — relatively little research exists on the problem of fair use in scholarship. This article analyzes reported federal cases on fair use in scholarly contexts, with a particular emphasis on the transformative use doctrine that has become enormously influential in fair use determinations. The article explores insights from this body of case law that may assist future scholars wishing to fairly use copyrighted expression in their scholarship.