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Created by Prof. Mark Davies of Brigham Young University, the Time Magazine Corpus is a database that categorizes the words found in Time Magazine. The website, which uses words directly from Time magazine articles, has the ability to show how frequently words were used and how they have changed over time. Though the Corpus acts as a big encyclopedia to look up the words used in  Time Magazine, the question is raised as to whether the website’s use of the terms in the magazines are legal. After reviewing the website, I have determined that it is within the Copyright Law as it strictly follows the Fair Use Policy.

One reason the Corpus is within the Fair Use Policy is because of its educational value. According to the Corpus website, the Corpus allows the user:

“To quickly and easily search more than 100 million words of text of American English from 1923 to the present, as found in TIME magazine. You can see how words, phrases and grammatical constructions have increased or decreased in frequency and see how words have changed meaning over time.”(1)


Because of the ability to see how words have changed over time, Time Magazine has become an example for others to learn about how these changes took place overtime.

Other reason the Corpus is within the Fair Use Policy is because of its extent of use. The Corpus does not contain full Time Magazine articles on their website. The Corpus states that it:

“…contain hundreds of millions of words of copyrighted material. The only way that their use is legal is because of the limited “Keyword in Context” (KWIC) displays… They retrieve and index billions of words of copyright material, but they only allow end users to access “snippets” of this data from their servers.”(2)


Because the Corpus uses a very limited amount of text on their site, and does not contain full articles, the user will only be able to access the full articles through the Time Magazine Archive website, which also requires a membership account to fully access it.

And so, since the corpus is very respectful to the copyright holder of the articles and is not using the articles to make a profit, to take claim to the creation of the articles, and is linking the articles back to the original source, I find the Corpus to be within the bounds of the Copyright Law. It is also within the limits of the Fair Use Policy as the website is educational, noncommercial, and it extent of use. The Corpus places Time Magazine and its Archive in a good light and shows that it can be used for educational purposes. A more detailed explanation of their following of the Fair Use Policy can be found here.


(1) http://corpus.byu.edu/time/

(2) http://corpus.byu.edu/faq.asp#x11

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