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Fair Use: Now More than Ever

Fair Use is an important doctrine allowing use of copyrighted works without the owner’s consent in certain situations. But documentary filmmakers and producers of online content under utilize the fair use doctrine in their work. The creation and circulation of information to the public, and public debate, is shaped and limited as a result. This session will explore the fundamentals of fair use, as well as what may and may not be permissible, best practices and new developments.


Julie Ahrens Assoc Dir Fair Use Project Stanford Law School

Julie is the Director of Copyright and Fair Use at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. She represents writers, filmmakers, musicians, and others who rely on fair use in creating their works. Julie has represented visual artist Shepard Fairey in copyright litigation against The Associated Press over Fairey’s “Obama Hope” posters, RDR Books in its copyright and Lanham Act dispute with J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers over the Harry Potter Lexicon, the producers and distributors of the film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” in litigation against Yoko Ono Lennon and EMI Records, and Professor Carol Shloss in her lawsuit against the Estate of James Joyce. Julie has also represented various organizations as amicus curiae in federal appeals courts throughout the country, including The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Creative Commons, and the American Library Association. In addition to litigating, Julie advises documentary filmmakers, writers, scholars, artists and other content creators on fair use and other intellectual property issues. She runs the Documentary Film Program and advises filmmakers who use unlicensed clips in their films to help them obtain the insurance coverage necessary to distribute their films. As a Lecturer in Law, Julie teaches the Cyberlaw / Fair Use Clinic at the law school. Before joining Stanford, Julie was a litigation attorney in the San Francisco office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where, among other matters, she was the lead attorney defending the musician and electronic composer, BT, in a copyright infringement case in the Southern District of New York. She has litigated a variety of matters in the state and federal courts of California and New York. Julie received her J.D. cum laude from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 2002. She is admitted to the bars of California and New York.