[Wikipedia-l] A Fair Use Question

Jimmy Wales jwales at bomis.com
Fri Apr 16 15:15:06 UTC 2004

The Zellers Family wrote:
> I was writing a Wikipedia entry for Virgil Fox (the organist) and I wanted 
> to quote his introduction to the Bach Toccata and Fugue in Dm (BWV565) from 
> the album "Heavy Organ" because I thought that it nicely summed up his 
> approach to music (especially as constrasted with that if E. Power Biggs), 
> but I didn't want to run afoul of the copyright police, so I thought I'd 
> ask here first.

Assuming the article isn't just this quote (which I'm sure it isn't),
there is no problem with this at all.  This is a paradigm case of
simple and perfectly acceptable "fair use" that is going to be fair
use for just about any conceivable re-use of our material.

> I would argue that it would fall under any reasonable definition of fair 
> use, but I'd like to get a second opinion before I cause any trouble.

Yes, it's fine.

> Just for future reference, assuming quoting the text is permissible,
> where would attaching an MP3 of that introduction fall?  I don't
> think it is worth it in this case, but I was just wondering where
> the edges are.

I think that questions like this are hard to answer a priori -- it
just depends on the full context of what we're doing in any given
case.  As you say, in this case, it doesn't seem particularly on-point
("worth it") to include it, but in other cases, I think that including
it would be valid.


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