Fair Use: You Be The Judge

Students will challenge their knowledge of copyright law and fair use and apply it as stakeholders in the legal drama of Walt Disney Studios v. Faden.

Notes for the Educator

Objectives for Students

Activity Highlights

Use the Lesson Activities guide below to manage the length of each stage of the trial. Your preparation for the mock trial should include being familiar with "A Fair(y) Use Tale," the Fair Use FAQ, and the Trial Guide for the Educator, and you should consider making a short list of persuasive arguments you expect to see made by the students. As the "judge," be prepared to discuss the students' arguments in detail.

The following paragraph is a reprint of the notes from Lesson 3 that should be helpful for you in your role as "judge":

"A Fair(y) Use Tale":
Purpose: The purposes of the original Disney footage vary by clip, but most were intended purely for entertainment. The purpose of the remix, "A Fair(y) Use Tale," is to educate viewers about fair use principles. Individual Disney works are combined in a new and creative (transformative) way to accomplish that purpose. The remix is noncommercial.
Nature of Original Work: The original Disney works are creative. However, courts have held that this factor is less important when the second work is transformative.
Amount and Substantiality of the Copying: The remix video takes a number of short clips from various sources. However, it takes no more than necessary to accomplish the transformative purpose.
Market Harm: The remix video does not substitute for the original Disney works in any conceivable market.


For the Educator

For the Student (in-class)

For the Student (homework)

Additional Reading

Lesson Activities

  1. (55 minutes) Arrange your classroom into a courtroom, and begin the mock fair use trial of Walt Disney Studios v. Faden. Use this schedule to keep track of time:
    1. Opening Statements (3-5 minutes each side)
      • Plaintiff's Attorney #1 gives opening statement
      • Defendant's Attorney #1 gives opening statement
    2. Testimony and Cross-Exam for Plaintiff (3-5 minutes each side)
      • Plaintiff's Attorney #2 calls plaintiff to the stand
      • Defendant's Attorney #2 cross-examination of plaintiff
    3. Testimony and Cross-Exam for Defense (3-5 minutes each side)
      • Defendant's Attorney #3 calls defendant to the stand
      • Plaintiff's Attorney #3 cross-examination of defendant
    4. Closing Arguments (3 minutes each side)
      • Plaintiff's Attorney #4 gives closing argument
      • Defendant's Attorney #4 gives closing argument
    5. Jury Deliberations (5 minutes)
      • Jury discusses case and reaches verdict
      • Verdict is written down and handed to Judge
      • Judge reads verdict to class
    6. Post-Trial Debrief
      • Teacher debriefs student jury verdict with the class
  2. (5 minutes) Before the end of class, select some questions that students asked at the end of Lesson 1, and ask the class to answer them.