Use of the author’s quote on a high school Twitter account was educational rather than commercial because it clearly was intended to inspire high school athletes, and the school obtained no profit from its use.

In a case in which an author sued a public school district for using a passage from his book on Twitter for motivational purposes without his permission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the author’s direct copyright infringement claim on fair use grounds because the school had an educational rather than a commercial reason for using the quote and no evidence existed of any harm to the author’s business. The court also upheld the award of attorney fees and costs to the school district (Bell v. Eagle Mountain Saginaw Independent School District, February 25, 2022, Costa, G.).

Case date: 25 February 2022
Case number No. 21-10504
Court: United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

A full summary of this case has been published on Kluwer IP Law.


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