- Go to the Copyright Law Homepage
- View the Important Course Information Page
- Read the Memo Assignments
- Course News and Updates
Reading and Class Assignments How to read the Syllabus: Except as noted below, each assignment below corresponds tentatively to one class period, though the amount of material to be covered in class, the order of the assignments, and/or the contents of a particular assignment may be changed by prior announcement. Note, for example, that we will have more class meetings than there are assignments. I will make every effort to incorporate new developments in copyright law into the Syllabus, where appropriate.
The page numbers listed below under “Casebook” refer to Julie E. Cohen, Lydia Pallas Loren, Ruth Gana Okediji, & Maureen A. O’Rourke, Copyright in a Global Information Economy (Third Edition 2010). “Softcover Supplement” refers to Julie E. Cohen, Lydia Pallas Loren, Ruth Gana Okediji, & Maureen A. O’Rourke, Copyright in a Global Information Economy: 2013 Case and Statutory Supplement. [A complete, free copy of the Softcover Supplement is available here.] Within each assignment, the Syllabus notes the principal case(s) covered in the text.
For some assignments, other required supplemental cases or materials have been posted online. Those cases are separately identified in each assignment; they can be downloaded below and at the Important Course Information page.
In addition to the assigned readings, where a case or other material refers to the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code), you are responsible for locating and reading the section(s) of the Act to which the text refers. If you do not own a copy of the Copyright Act, you can access a free, online version here.
- Class 1: Copyright’s Institutional Settings: Google Book Search, and the Music Industry
Read the following three articles from the New York Review of Books written by Professor Robert Darnton, Director of the Harvard University Library, together with some comments on them. Each article is available online:
- Google & the Future of Books (Feb. 12, 2009)
- Google & Books: An Exchange (March 26, 2009)
- Google and the New Digital Future (Dec. 17, 2009)
Read the opinion of Judge Denny Chin in Authors Guild v. Google Inc. (decided Nov. 14, 2013):
Read the following article from the New York Times Magazine about the role of so-called collecting societies in the music industry:
- The Music-Copyright Enforcers (August 6, 2010)
- Class 2: Why Copyright? Historical Context and Introductory Problems Read Casebook 3-42 and Casebook 745-750 (NBA v. Motorola) and Casebook 303-306 (Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp.)
II. The Purposes of Copyright, as Measured by Limitations: Fair Use
- Class 3: Cultural Interchange Casebook 529-565 (Harper & Row Publishers v. Nation Enterprises; Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.; New Era Publications Int’l v. Carol Publishing Group; Castle Rock Entertainment v. Carol Publishing Group, Inc.; Nunez v. Caribbean International News Corp.; Bill Graham Archives v. Dorling Kindersley Ltd.)
- Class 4: Market Failure or “Productive Consumption”? Casebook 580-603 (Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc.; A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc.; American Geophysical Union v. Texaco, Inc.)
- Class 5: Technical Interchange Casebook 565-579 (Sega Enterprises Ltd. v. Accolade, Inc.; Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. v. Connectix Corp.; Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc.)
III. The Subject Matter of Copyright Law
- Class 6: Fixation Casebook 45-57 (Williams Electronics, Inc. v. Artic International, Inc.; MAI Systems Corp. v. Peak Computer, Inc.)
- Class 7: Originality Casebook 57-81 (Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co.; Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony; Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co.; Alfred Bell & Co. v. Catalda Fine Arts, Inc.; Meshwerks, Inc. v. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.; Mannion v. Coors Brewing Co.; AND Kelley v. Chicago Park District in the Softcover Supplement)
- Class 8: The Idea/Expression Distinction Casebook 81-99 (Baker v. Selden; A.A. Hoehling v. Universal City Studios, Inc.; American Dental Association v. Delta Dental Plans Association)
- Class 9: Derivative Works and Compilations Casebook 99-116 (L. Batlin & Son v. Snyder; Entertainment Research Group, Inc. v. Genesis Creative Group, Inc.; Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co.; Roth Greeting Cards v. United Card Co.; Mason v. Montgomery Data, Inc.)
- Class 10: Authorship Casebook 116-124 (Lindsay v. The Wrecked and Abandoned Vessel R.M.S. Titanic; Erickson v. Trinity Theatre, Inc.; Aalmuhammed v. Lee)
- Class 11: Works Made for Hire Casebook 124-140 (Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid; Aymes v. Bonelli; Roeslin v. District of Columbia)
Memorandum Assignment Number One will be distributed around this time. The Assignment will be due on Friday, February 21, 2014.
IV. Acquiring, Keeping, and Transferring Copyright
- Class 12: Mechanics of Transfers Casebook 605-644 (Asset Marketing Systems, Inc. v. Gagnon; Newe York Times Co. v. Tasini; Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers, Ltd. v. The Walt Disney Company; Random House v. Rosetta Books; Vernor v. Autodesk, Inc. (read the version in the Softcover Supplement, not the version in the Casebook); Jacobsen v. Katzer; AND F.B.T. Productions v. Aftermath Records [pdf download here])
- Class 13: Formalities Casebook 145-160 (Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr., Inc. v. CBS, Inc.)
- Class 14: Duration; Renewals and Terminations of Transfers Casebook 160-189 (Eldred v. Ashcroft; Stewart v. Abend)
V. Protected Works and Boundary Problems
- Class 15: Useful Articles with Pictorial, Graphic, or Sculptural Aspects Casebook 191-215 (Mazer v. Stein; Kieselstein-Cord v. Accessories by Pearl, Inc.; Carol Barnhart Inc. v. Economy Cover Corp.; Brandir International, Inc. v. Cascade Pacific Lumber Co.)
- Class 16: Characters Casebook 257-267 (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. v. American Honda Motor Co.; Warner Brothers Entertainment v. X One X Productions in the Softcover Supplement)
VI. The Statutory Rights of Copyright Owners I
- Class 17 The Elements of Infringement Casebook 289-302 (Three Boys Music Corp. v. Michael Bolton; Selle v. Gibb; Ty, Inc. v. GMA Accessories, Inc.)
- Class 18: The Reproduction Right Casebook 302-341 (Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp.; Arnstein v. Porter; Steinberg v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.; Boisson v. Banian, Ltd.; Mannion v. Coors Brewing Co.; Sid & Marty Krofft Television Productions, Inc. v. McDonald’s Corp.; Cavalier v. Random House, Inc.; Swirsky v. Carey; Computer Associates International, inc. v. Altai)
Memorandum Assignment Number Two will be distributed around this time. The Assignment will be due on Friday, April 4, 2014.
- Class 19: The Distribution Right Casebook 341-365 (Capitol Records, Inc. v. Thomas; Bobbs-Merrill Company v. Straus; AND Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. in the Softcover Supplement)
- Class 20: The Right to Prepare Derivative Works, and Moral Rights Casebook 365-411 (Castle Rock Entertainment, Inc. v. Carol Publishing Group, Inc.; Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. v. RDR Books; Mirage Editions, Inc. v. Albuquerque A.R.T. Company; Lee v. A.R.T. Company; Lewis Galoob Toys, Inc. v. Nintendo of America, Inc; Micro Star v. FormGen, Inc.; Gilliam v. American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.; Lilley v. Stout; Martin v. City of Indianapolis; Dastar Corp. v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.)
- Class 21: The Public Performance and Public Display Rights Casebook 411-436 (Columbia Pictures Indus. v. Redd Horne, Inc.; Cartoon Network LP and CSC Holdings, Inc.; Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc.)
VII. The Statutory Rights of Copyright Owners II
- Class 22: Copyright and Collective Rights Organizations: The Case of the Music Industry Casebook 436-468 (Newton v. Diamond; Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. Dimension Films; Arista Records, LLC v. Launch Media, Inc.)
- Class 23: Identifying Defendants Casebook 469-503 (Religious Technology Center v. Netcom On-Line Communication Services, Inc.; Fonovisa, Inc. v. Cherry Auction, Inc.; Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc.; Perfect 10, Inc. v. Visa International Service Association; MGM Studios Inc. v. Grokster Ltd.)
- Class 24: Service Providers Casebook 503-505 (Viacom Int’l v. YouTube, Inc. and Lenz v. Universal Music Corp. in the Softcover Supplement)
VIII. Technological Protection and Copyright Substitutes
- Class 25: The Technological Protection Debate, the DMCA, and Copyright Liability Casebook 657-692 (University City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes; Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Skylink Tech, Inc.; Lexmark International v. Static Control Components)
Memorandum Assignment Number Three will be distributed during the last week of class. The Assignment will be due on the last day of exams.