The authors make clear that "this code of best practices does not tell you the limits of fair use rights. . . . It’s not a guide to using material people give permission to use, such as works using Creative Commons licenses. Anyone can use those works the way the owners say that you can. . . . It’s not a guide to material that is already free to use without considering copyright. For instance, all federal government works are in the public domain, as are many older works. In most cases, trademarks are not an issue. For more information on “free use,” consult the document “Yes, You Can!” and copyright.cornell.edu."
Then what is it? Essentially, it's a guide to what professionals actually are doing:
This is a guide to current acceptable practices, drawing on the actual activities of creators, as discussed among other places in the study Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video and backed by the judgment of a national panel of experts. It also draws, by way of analogy, upon the professional judgment and experience of documentary filmmakers, whose own code of best practices has been recognized throughout the film and television businesses.Regular readers of this blog will not be surprised at the views of authorship and creation that inform this code of best practices. Fans of Girl Talk and the class that originated this blog will be particularly interested in the code's claim that it is fair use to "to recombine elements to make a new work that depends for its meaning on (often unlikely) relationships between these elements.