"Fair Use" Not in OED

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Tue Feb 14 17:03:40 UTC 2006

On Tue, 14 Feb 2006, Baker, John wrote:

>        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."

Yes, "fair use" does appear in the 1847 book referenced by John above, at
the page he indicates.

Here's some earlier evidence:

1821 Henley, Robert Henley Eden, Baron. A treatise on the law of
injunctions 282 (Making of Modern Law)  In a late case, Lord Eldon
directed an action to try whether a work on architecture was original,
with a fair use of another work by quotation and compilation.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Collections and     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
   Access and Lecturer in Legal Research     Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at yale.edu               http://quotationdictionary.com

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

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