"Fair Use" Not in OED

Dennis R. Preston preston at MSU.EDU
Tue Feb 14 15:50:46 UTC 2006

How do we know when a term is a term. If I said

"He didn't make very fair use of his background advantages among his
schoolmates" I take that not to be a term.

But if I say

"That's not in accordance with the fair use principle of copyright."

it is.

Might not the 1847 use be part of the birth of a term rather than a
term itself? How can we tell the difference between a completely
transparent collocation and its emergence as a term?

Just thinkin.


>         I understand that the term is used in Curtis, A Treatise on the
>Law of Copyright 236 - 37 (1847), in the chapter on Infringement of
>Copyright, the first paragraph of which reportedly includes this
>passage:  "[W]e must bear in mind that while the primary object of the
>law of copyright is protection to the product of all literary labor, the
>interests of knowledge demand a reasonable freedom in the use of all
>antecedent literature. To administer the law in such a manner as not to
>curtail the fair use of existing materials, in any department of
>letters, is one of the great tasks of jurisprudence."
>John Baker
>-----Original Message-----
>From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
>Of Fred Shapiro
>Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 8:50 AM
>Subject: "Fair Use" Not in OED
>The copyright law term _fair use_ is not in OED.  The coinage is said to
>occur in the case of Lawrence v. Dana, 15 Fed. Cas. 26 (1869).
>Fred Shapiro
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

Dennis R. Preston
University Distinguished Professor
Department of English
15C Morrill Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
preston at msu.edu

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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