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Fair Use: Making Sense of Transformative Use

(998 Ratings)

Produced on: December 04, 2015

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by


Course Description

Time 60 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

In this presentation, attorney Sekou Campbell provides a primer on fair use, a statutory exception to the protected rights that originated with courts’ equity concerns relating to overbroad protections under copyright law. 

With that background established, Mr. Campbell turns to the frequently discussed and oft-misunderstood “transformative use” doctrine, originally discussed in Judge Pierre Leval’s Harvard Law Review article “Toward a Fair Use Standard.” The presentation compares decisions relating to fair use and derivative works and examines some silent factors courts appear to consider when making fair use determinations as a matter of law. 

This is a subject ripe for review by the Supreme Court as there appears to be some conflict among the Circuits and confusion among jurists and attorneys alike on the contours of “transformative use.” This introductory presentation adds some clarification, at least until the Supreme Court provides greater certainty.


Learning Objectives:

I.     Identify the four fair use factors courts use and apply to fair use defenses

II.    Apply the derivative works protected right to infringement scenarios

III.   Distinguish between derivative works (that infringe the first user’s work) and transformative use (that is fair use)

IV.   Strengthen a basic understanding of copyright and the interests it protects

V.    Gain familiarity with the First Amendment’s role in copyright fair use


Sekou Campbell

Law Office of Sekou Campbell PLLC

Sekou Campbell, admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey courts, brings a unique set of experiences to the practice of law. One publication characterized him as a "renaissance man." His biography tells a tale of an experienced artist and thinker. After graduating from the famed LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, Sekou earned a full-tuition scholarship to Vanderbilt University as a Dean's and Posse Scholar. Upon graduation, he served under-resourced communities in the Bronx as a Teach for America corps member. He then attended Columbia University's School of the Arts to earn an M.F.A. in Theater and led the school as a member of the faculty senate, regularly meeting with administration and students regarding pressing issues of land development and student unionization. Sekou went on to become a founding member of the Bronx Charter School for the Arts, a groundbreaking school designed to utilize all art forms (theater, dance, music and visual art) to aid students' academic and overall development. During that time, Sekou also produced and performed in numerous productions throughout New York City and the world, including at LaMaMa E.T.C., an iconic landmark in the off-Broadway theater community. 

Then, he started a legal career. Sekou has worked with a prestigious, national law firm representing individuals and companies in a range of litigation matters including personal injury, products liability, contract disputes, white collar criminal and antitrust matters. He also worked with an accomplished class action plaintiffs' firm primarily representing pension funds in high stakes complex litigation matters.

In law school, Sekou participated in a clinic where he, under the supervision of an experienced appellate attorney, represented an indigent criminal defendant in a felony appeal. He also interned for an esteemed criminal defense attorney working for one of the nation's oldest and most respected public defender organizations, primarily focusing on defending youth offenders. Sekou also interned for a federal district court judge in the Eastern District of New York, working on matters ranging from civil rights to criminal evidence to ERISA-related matters. He was awarded with a Cardozo Service and Achievement Award upon graduation. 


Danny J.

superb cle. Clear, engaging and concise. I also loved the bullet point summary "takeaways" at the end to cleanly wrap up the CLE. Other lawyers who do CLEs should watch and learn how to do it with this one.

Warren M.

Good mix of background and cases.

M Margaret B.

Excellent. Well organized and thorough.

Melanie C.

Very clear and interesting. Thanks!

Christine M.


Francine D. W.

Thank you

Alice B.

Exceeded expectations. Stellar. Thank you for being so thorough and for putting the issues in historical perspective.

Nancy H.

Liked the overview putting new doctrine of transformative use in context of development of the law.unpretentious speaker- liked that too.

Julie A. B.

Speaker neatly wraps the content.

Robert G.

Recently took a 7.5 hour music law (copyright) live CLE and this was an excellent review and overview of what i had gleaned from the music law cle.

Nancy O.

Good materials and visuals while viewing the course. One of the best total presentations I have seen. Thank you!

Deanne R.

Great course! Very informative.

peter w.

excellent program

William H.

Good overview of topic.

Brian L.

Great course!

Jill K.

first time I've found an on-line program with video and powerpoint, not just audio. Very pleased with format and content

Kristin B.

I enjoyed Mr. Cambells presentation. He is very pleasant to listen to and watch!

amy l.


William B.

Good content and delivery.

Dawn L.

This is the most useful and on point of all the CLEs I have ever watched! Very timely and gave new perspective on fair use as interpreted in recent decisions. Extremely useful and well-presented. Excellent overall. Would like to see more from this presenter and more sessions on fair use.

Lester M.


Daniel H.


Kelvin B.

Good presentation

Brian S.


Kushal M.

speaker was great his passion for the subject made it fun and interesting.

pamela s.

pleasant voice

Bruce K.

There is no bright line test for evaluating this area of the law, which make this a more difficult area to speak about.

Allen B.

Very well done.

Kirk C.

NIce presentation and discussion.

Avish D.

Great speaker

George J.

Very organized from a logical and historic perspective.

Tonie B.

I really enjoyed this seminar! It is not my area, but I found the discussion fascinating and I appreciated the speaker's approach. It was refreshing and fascinating.

Chukwuka O.

Great Instructor!

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