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Fair Use and Its Global Paradigm Evolution

This Article closely examines the transplant of the fair use model in U.S. copyright law on to foreign soil. It begins by reviewing the literature concerning paradigm shift, in particular Thomas Kuhn’s seminal work. The Article then documents a growing trend toward the worldwide adoption of the U.S. fair use model and a countertrend toward the retention of the status quo. The juxtaposition of these two trends explain why jurisdictions that set out to transplant U.S.-style fair use ended up adopting a hybrid model. The second half of this Article interrogates the different primary causes behind such a paradigm evolution. While many possible factors exist within and outside the legal system, the discussion focuses on those relating to intellectual property law, international and comparative law, and the legislative process. The Article concludes with recommendations concerning future efforts to broaden copyright limitations and exceptions in the United States and across the world. Specifically, it outlines six courses of action that seek to improve these reform efforts. It further identifies three modalities of evolution that can help tailor the transplanted fair use paradigm to local needs, interests, conditions, and priorities.

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