Professor Wise is teaching a summer seminar in business torts at State University. Several times during the course, he makes copies of relevant sections from business law texts and distributes them to his students. Wise does not realize that the daughter of one of the textbook authors is a member of his seminar. She tells her father about Wise's copying activities, which have taken place without her father's or publisher's permission. Her father sues Wise for copyright infringement. Wise claims protection under the fair-use doctrine. Who will prevail?

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We still have to make several assumptions based on this scenario, but it is likely that the professor will prevail in this case.

Fair use is described in 17 U.S.C. § 107 as using material "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use),...

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We still have to make several assumptions based on this scenario, but it is likely that the professor will prevail in this case.

Fair use is described in 17 U.S.C. § 107 as using material "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research."

In this scenario, the professor is using the material for clear educational purposes, noted by the descriptor of "relevant sections." We do have to assume that the professor isn't copying most of or the entire textbook throughout the course; the less of the book he has used, the more likely it is to fall under fair use for educational purposes. We also have to assume that he is giving credit to the original author of the work and not attempting to pass the material off as his own research.

Since the professor's reasons for copying the material have specific, nonprofit, educational purposes, courts would almost certainly side with him, unless he has made some egregious errors in either the amount of material he has copied and distributed or in his failure to give due credit to the original author.

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