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California Western's New Media Rights Launches Fair Use Application

2L Erika L. Lee, 2L Nick J. Petruolo, Teri Karobonik, Art Neill, Lauren Brady '14, 2L Emory A. Roane, 2L Joelle M. Bartkins

Video, still images, music, paintings. This kind of creative content is everywhere—especially on the Internet—much of it copyrighted.

But before you reuse this content for one of your own projects, ask yourself this question: am I using this legally?

That’s the question California Western’s New Media Rights clinic (NMR) is helping film and video makers, musicians, technology startups, and others to answer.

NMR staff and student interns have created the Fair Use App—an application to help Internet users with “fair use”–the legal reuse of creative content that they themselves did not produce.

Students in NMR frequently advise filmmakers and other people involved in creative pursuits about copyright, fair use, and when they can and can't reuse content. This critical advice and education can often prevent unnecessary legal disputes, helping creative projects and new businesses to flourish. That led them to an idea: what if there were an interactive way to teach even more filmmakers, creators, and technology startups about fair use?

Enter the Fair Use App.

The project was years in the making and is the result of the work of dozens of individuals.  New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill led the team, working directly with local San Diego design firm FYC Labs to develop the app. The team included Staff Attorney Teri Karobonik; Advisory Board members and former legal interns Shaun Spalding ’11, Lauren Brady ‘14, Kyle Welch ’14;  Advisory Board members Hani Anani, Jonathan McIntosh, Phelan Riessen, and Cy Kuckenbaker; former NMR interns Alex Johnson and Ashley Gray as well as current California Western School of Law student Erika Lee 2L.

“I’m proud that we worked with our students to create this new educational resource for the community,” says Neill. “I think it also speaks volumes not only to the innovation driving New Media Rights but also the innovative law students we bring in and help to train to be the next generation of creative and practice-ready lawyers our profession and the public needs.”

“It was a privilege to work on an innovative app that translates a complicated area of the law for thousands of filmmakers who need to understand how to reuse content within the law,” said Lee.

While the app isn't intended to provide automated answers on specific fair use questions, it is helpful as a tool to help folks make better decisions about when and how to reuse content

Check out the new app at

About New Media Rights
Founded by attorney Art Neill in 2007, New Media Rights offers one-to-one assistance and education for independent creative entrepreneurs, journalists, and Internet users. New Media Rights also takes part in regulatory proceedings at the FCC and U.S. Copyright Office to shape policy and regulation around Internet, copyright, and privacy issues.

The program joined California Western School of Law in July 2012, joining other distinguished legal programs at California Western, including the California Innocence Project and Community Law Project, which share a focus on individuals without access to legal services.

For questions about New Media Rights, contact Art Neill at 619-591-8870 or