Updated 11/7/16

Law 874

Seminar in Advanced Copyright Law Topics

Jessica Litman

Thursday, 4:10-6:10 pm


       Over the course of the semester, we will take an intensive look at eight advanced copyright law topics that are too complicated to cover in any depth in the introductory copyright course. The tentative schedule is below. I may revise it depending on your interests and on copyright developments in the news. If there is a topic you would dearly like to cover that isn't on this list, let's talk about that in the first class. If the other students in the seminar feel the same way, I can shift things around.

      You will need your copy of the copyright statute. All other assigned reading material will be posted online, or on Canvas, or both. I will for the most part be assigning unedited cases, law review articles, regulations, federal register notices, testimony, and comments, so use your judgment about which parts of the assigned materials are relevant for our purposes.

      I need to cancel the class currently scheduled for Thursday November 10. I have scheduled a makeup class for Tuesday November 8, at 4:10, in room 242 Hutchins Hall. If you can't make that class, that's fine. I expect you to attend the other classes.

      With the exception of the first week of class, please write a short (250 – 300 word) reaction paper responding to the reading assignment, and turn it in via Canvas by 3:00 p.m. on the Tuesday before every class (3:00 pm on Sunday November 6 for the November 8 makeup class). I will read your paper and respond briefly before that week's class.

       In addition to the weekly short reaction papers, you will be writing a longer paper, no more than 20 pages. That paper may be either a research paper on any copyright law topic (whether or not the topic is one we will be covering in the seminar) or a draft with commentary of a new copyright statute to replace the current statute. (Since the current statute is about 300 pages long, this task will require careful thinking about what you want to include and what you want to discard. How you allocate your 20-page limit between draft statute and commentary is completely up to you.) All citations in the paper should conform to the rules set forth in the Indigo Book: An Open and Compatible Implementation of A Uniform System of Citation (2016), https://law.resource.org/pub/us/code/blue/IndigoBook.pdf. The paper will be due on Monday, December 5.

      This is a two-credit seminar. Students who wish to earn a third credit may register for Law 900 Research in addition to Law 874. Those students will write both the research paper and the draft with commentary of a new copyright statute. Both papers should be 20 pages or less. Please don't ask me if it's okay to write a 40 page research paper instead. You will be conforming to page limits and word limits throughout your legal career, and figuring out how to distill what you want to say within sometimes stingy length limits is an important skill that is worth practicing.

      The law faculty has adopted a policy that calls for the syllabi for all courses to express specific learning outcomes. You should expect to learn a lot of copyright law this semester, and to become familiar with the policy arguments that surround some of its most controversial provisions. In addition, you should expect that class discussions with each other will challenge, inform, and possibly change the views you hold now about copyright issues.

      It is the policy and desire of the Law School to provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. Students who may require some type of accommodation should speak with Dean Baum in the Office of Student Life.

      I will post detailed reading assignments for each week at least a week in advance. Here is the tentative schedule of topics: