Empirical Study of the Fair Use Doctrine

The Fair Use Blog should be a regular destination for any attorney interested in copyright law.  This post tips us off to an amazing article by Professor Barton Beebe of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University: An Empirical Study of U.S. Copyright Fair Use Opinions, 1978-2005

Professor Beebe provides detailed statistical analysis.  From the summary on his website:

This Article presents the results of the first empirical study of our fair use case law to show that much of our conventional wisdom about that case law is wrong.  Working from a data set consisting of all reported federal opinions that made substantial use of the Section 107 four-factor test for fair use through 2005, the Article shows which factors and subfactors actually drive the outcome of the fair use test in practice, how the fair use factors interact, how courts inflect certain individual factors, and the extent to which judges stampede the factor outcomes to conform to the overall test outcome.

Though it will not be published until later this year, it is available from the professor’s website now.