In my last IP Viewpoints entry, I discussed the origin of “transformation” as a major factor in copyright’s fair use doctrine. In particular, I focused on “expressive” transformation, in which the user changes the actual content of the copyrighted work. Taking old works and turning them into something new is the way that culture usually evolves, so it is no surprise that copyright law would sometimes allow users to engage in such conduct without needing to pay for the privilege.
Yet there is also a second kind of transformation, one that does not involve the alteration of the underlying material. Indeed, this kind of transformation often involves wholesale, verbatim reproduction of all the expression in a copyrighted work. How could such uses be considered transformative, let alone fair?
James Gibson, Transformation, Copyright Infringement, and Fair Use Part II, The Media Institute (Jan. 26, 2015), available at http://www.mediainstitute.org/IPI/2015/012615.php.