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Episode 709: The Quiet Old Lady Who Whispers "Fair Use"

Planet Money's fair use bunny.
Chrissy Lee
/
NPR

The great green room, the comb, the brush. The kittens, the mittens, the bowl full of mush. The children's book Goodnight Moon is a classic — maybe too much of a classic. Reporter Keith Romer's daughter wanted to hear the book every night, and as many parents will tell you, that can get a little boring. So Keith went off script, and wrote his own story in the world of Goodnight Moon.

And, after writing his own Goodnight Moon spinoff, Keith wanted to know: Could he sell it? Is that even legal?

Today on the show, we dive into the world of copyright and fair use. Just where is the line between inspiration and stealing?

Note: Supreme Court audio in this episode comes from Oyez, a free law project at the Legal Information Institute at Cornell.

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