Abstract: Exceptions and limitations to the rights of copyright owners aim to promote copyright goals in a rapidly changing world. Policymakers are often faced with the choice of either adopting an open-norm, such as fair use, to facilitate flexibility and adaptability, or opt for a strictly defined list of exceptions and limitations to facilitate more certainty and predictability. So far, this binary choice between bright-line rules and vague standards has created a deadlock.
This paper argues that in order to promote a reasoned implementation of fair use and serve both the purpose of copyright law and the rule of law, courts should subscribe to the doctrinal indeterminacy mandated by fair use, while at the same time encourage the implementation of concrete rules within that standard. Incorporating bottom-up norms, such as Codes of Fair Use Best Practices, in fair use analysis, would enable courts to do just that.