It looks like we are headed toward more clarity on the fair use front: Righthaven is appealing one of its fair use losses to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:
[U.S. District Judge] Hicks found the online posting by [defendant Michael] Nelson of the first eight sentences of a 30-sentence [Las Vegas] Review-Journal story didn’t amount to copyright infringement as it was protected by the “fair use” doctrine .
This ruling caused Righthaven to alter its litigation strategy to limit its lawsuits to entire stories, photos and graphics — rather than partial stories — that were reproduced without authorization.
This could get interesting. The 9th Circuit is extremely pro-content industry, perhaps unsurprising given that Hollywood is located within its jurisdiction. At least a ruling will provide additional clarity going forward.