Seeking the Margins?Fair Use and Copyright, Harold Innis, and Israel

AuthorMeera Nair
Seeking the Margins—Fair Use and
Copyright, Harold Innis, and Israel
 1
 : This paper seeks to combine elements from the elds of law
and communication to address contemporary challenges concerning the
use of exceptions within the system of copyright. The debate surrounding
copyright exceptions oen seems intractable, with a key point of dispute be-
ing the vagueness of the language of the law. That vagueness has merit — ex-
ceptions which facilitate the pursuit of creativity must necessarily be as
indeterminate as creativity itself. Returning to the work of Harold Adams
Innis (1894–1952) reminds us of the value of language that invites thought-
ful deliberation. Innis’ work has further relevance as a contemporary evalu-
ation of how nation states are adopting and functioning with indeterminate
language—this paper sets the stage for a long-term research study concern-
ing Israel’s adoption of fair use into domestic copyright. Modern copyright
is increasingly set by a global template, leaving little room for individuality;
with recourse to Innis the author suggests that Israel has the potential to
1 Azrieli International Postdoctoral Fellow (2012–2013), Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I
wish to thank the Azrieli Foundation for supporting my interest in Israel; their enabling
of a postdoctoral year has set the stage for long-term research. Ricki Newman was
invaluable, not merely for translation services but for being the willing sounding board
throughout. Gratitude is due to Michael Birnhack and Menahem Blondheim; their help
from afar was critical to moving this project from a theoretical state to an active under-
taking. And thanks must go to two anonymous reviewers whose remarks improved this
paper immeasurably.
Seeking the Margins—Fair Use and Copyright, Harold Innis, and Israel 311
adhere to twenty-rst century copyright principles without compromising
their own particular culture of reading and knowledge development.
: Ce texte combine des éléments de droit et de communica-
tion an d’aborder les dés contemporains touchant à l’utilisation des ex-
ceptions en droit d’auteur. Les débats entourant les exceptions au droit
d’auteur semblent souvent insolubles, mettant l’accent sur l’imprécision
du langage utilisé dans la loi. Ce manque de précision comporte aussi des
avantages: les exceptions qui facilitent la recherche de la créativité doivent
être tout aussi imprécises que cette créativité. Le travail d’Harold Adams
Innis (1894-1952) nous rappelle la valeur du langage qui invite aux réexions
judicieuses. L’œuvre d’Innis est des plus pertinentes pour évaluer de façon
contemporaine comment les États-nations adoptent un langage indétermi-
né et comment ils fonctionnent avec ce langage. Ce texte prépare le terrain
pour une étude à long terme sur l’adoption par Israël de l’usage équitable du
droit d’auteur en droit interne. Le droit d’auteur moderne se bâtit de plus en
plus à partir d’un modèle universel, qui laisse peu de place à l’individualité;
en ayant recours à Innis, l’auteur estime qu’Israël pourrait adhérer aux prin-
cipes de droit d’auteur du vingt-et-unième siècle, et ce, sans compromettre
sa culture particulière du développement de la lecture et du savoir.
In the late twentieth century, citing the disruptions caused by digital tech-
nology set upon worldwide networks, copyright holders pressed for greater
control of copyrighted works; these arguments have only continued in in-
tensity and force.2 This paper seeks to contribute to discussion in the elds
2 The scope of control desired is illustrated in Pamela Samuelson, “The US Digital Agenda
at WIPO” (1996) 37 Va. J Int’l L 369. Ongoing pressure emanates from the United States
via the annual process known as “Special 301” where countries are ranked in terms of
their disfavour by American judgment with respect to intellectual property control. See
US Trade Representative, 2012 Special Report 301 (Washington, DC: 2012), online: Oce
of the United States Trade Representativeles/2012%20
Furthermore, global trade negotiations have moved beyond the relative transparen-
cy of the World Intellectual Property Organization to closed-door agreements reaching
for ever more stringent intellectual property control; a recent illustration being the
TransPacic Partnership Agreement: see Carolina Rossini, “Professor Michael Geist on
TPP and its Eects on Canadian Internet Users” (14 September 2012), online: Electronic
Frontier Foundation www.e.org/deeplinks/2012/09/professor-michael-geist-tpp-and-
its- eects-canadian-users.

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT