“Fair use is essential to internet for at least two reasons. First, the vast majority of what we do online, from email to texting to viewing images and making TikToks, involves creating, replicating, and/or repurposing copyrighted works. Since copyright is a limited but lengthy monopoly over those works, in theory, using or even viewing them might require a license; now, and for many decades in the future.
Second, technological innovation rarely means starting from scratch. Instead, developers build on existing technologies, hopefully improving them. But if the technology in question involves code, it is likely copyrightable. If so, that add-on innovation might require a license from the rightsholder, giving them a veto right on technological development.
As digital technologies dramatically (and sometime controversially) expand the reach of copyright, fair use helps ensure that the rights of the public expand as well….
In Hachette v. Internet Archive, four of the biggest publishers in the world, are trying to shut down Controlled Digital Lending, which allows people to check out digital copies of books for two weeks or less and only permits patrons to check out as many copies as the Archive and its partner libraries physically own. That means that if the Archive and its partner libraries have only one copy of a book, then only one patron can borrow it at a time….
Fortunately for the public, fair use has likewise grown to protect the original purpose of copyright: to encourage forward progress. And no matter what Hollywood or John Deere tells you, that’s a feature, not a bug.”