Wright v. Warner

One of the criteria used in allowing or disallowing a fair use defence is the scale or amount of the “taking,” i.e., how much of the author or artist’s work was taken by the defendant asserting the defence.  In this case a biographer of Richard Wright, a notable African American writer included in her biography of Wright six unpublished letters and ten unpublished journal entries written by Wright and the heir of Wright sued for copyright infringement. The court, in a 1990 decision affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeal held that the copying was a tiny fraction of Wright’s work, less than 1% and made for purposes of information and comment and was therefore fair use.

Related Terms