Does "All Rights Reserved" really mean it?

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  • I am concerned about extreme statements like "All Rights Reserved" and "No material from this publication may be used in any way without written permission from all owners, etc..."  I have been told that such statements are not valid, but the faculty I work with are quite concerned when they encounter one. I looked for an online or traditionally published statement about these statements, but did not find one. My instinct is that they are too extreme to be valid, but it seems I need a lawyer or a good publication to back that up. Can anyone help?

  • The key to thinking about the all rights reserved statement is that the copyright holder is asserting that they are retaining all the rights they have under section 106 of the copyright law, but that section also states that it is subject to sections 107 through 122 meaning that the copyright holder's rights are limited by the exceptions in those sections which include things like fair use and exceptions for libraries and archives among others. No copyright statement can take away someone's right to make use of the exceptions found in sections 107 through 122. That changes if you start talking about licenses in which you can sign away the rights found in those exceptions. 

  • We used to get this question a lot with video rentals labelled "Home Use Only."  We believed this was not a license agreement and told users that they could use videos in the classroom under 110(1).  Now that rental is almost kaput, users get content through streaming services that includes a license agreement restricting all copyright exceptions. 

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