Well now. Given recent events, I think it’s fair to say that I feel like I understand the intricacies of international copyright law a little more than I did a couple of months ago. After my communications with the TPCI lawyer, coupled with some readings from some other sites concerning similar copyright cases, I thought I’d write up a bit of a clarification of how this stuff appears to work.
MANDATORY DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer, and the following text is my own supposition. It shouldn’t be taken as absolute truth, and if you see something you know is incorrect, please let me know.
So, the crux of the matter is that ‘fair use’ is a rather convoluted and complicated ‘convienience’ clause added to copyright law, with the original goal of (subjectively) ‘limited’ re-use of copyrighted material without needing to get the original holder’s permission primarily for purposes of things like critical commentary or research. With the existence of the fair use clause, this basically means that most forms of unauthorized copyright usage go from ‘blatently’ illegal to ‘potentially’ illegal.