As a matter of policy, I've never put reviews on the artist pages I've made for Magnatune artists. The reason is that in the dot-com era I remember reading of a few lawsuits where the one site sued another for copyright infringement, for quoting text from their site w/o permission.
Shannon has taken over artist relations at Magnatune and she has a stronger traditional marketing and press background than I have. She feels strongly that including reviews and favorable quotes helps gain credibility and influences potential listeners & buyers. I told her about my objections to this, and so she decided to research it a bit. This is what she found:
|A fabulous quote about Lorraine Hunt Lieberson from The New Yorker heightened my desire to figure out whether or not we can quote these sources on the Magnatune artist pages, so I've been researching the fair use issue over the last few days and have learned that this practice -- in all likelihood -- falls squarely within the parameters of fair use. While it's true that commercial motives aren't given as much leeway as non-commercial ones, we easily meet the vast majority of the other fair use stipulations:
--quoting from published works
Since fair use decisions are never cut and dried, it's impossible to say that this would *guarantee* our right to quote reviews, but since most decisions are based on whether or not someone is meeting the *majority* of the stipulations, it's likely that it's totally fine for us to do this.
Case law is on our side as well: In 1983 Reports sued a vacuum cleaner manufacturer to prevent them from using their findings in its advertising. The court ruled that quoting Consumer Reports constituted fair use under 17 U.S.C. S 107. This was even in light of the consideration that the ad *did* to some degree affect CR's market for the particular issue in which the product was reviewed.
See also: http://tinyurl.com/8k24z (a Nolo Press article, search on the word "vacuum" to get to the relevant paragraph)
I've also emailed a bunch of companies like Powell's Books to see how they address the issue, as I *seriously* doubt that they license content from publishers on product pages like this one: http://tinyurl.com/cp9z7
The Consumer Reports case is interesting, because the Nolo press article does not mention "quoting from a review in an advertisement" as fair use, and this is how a magazine might see the Magnatune artist's pages.