Law 633


Statutory Drafting Exercise #1

Due Friday, January 20 at 6:00 pm

This assignment is mandatory but ungraded

(We will discuss the assignment in class on Wednesday, January 25)


       Section 102(b) of the copyright statute seeks to articulate the "idea/expression" distinction, defining elements of copyrightable works that are categorically excluded from receiving copyright protection. As the material on pages 98-136 of the Casebook shows, however, courts have struggled to apply the principle expressed in section 102(b) to actual cases.

       Draft a new and improved section 102(b) that will supply the clarity that the current statutory language lacks, and will better enable courts to distinguish between copyrightable and uncopyrightable elements of protected works. You should assume that the current text of section 102(a) will remain unchanged. You may work alone or in teams of two, three, or four.

        Your amendment must reflect actual statutory language. Do not explain what it is you are trying to do -- the effect and intent of your amendment should be clear from the statutory language that you propose. You should anticipate that the language of your amendment may be both publicly performed and publicly displayed in class, and that one or more of your classmates will be asked to explain what your amendment will accomplish, and then criticize its weaknesses and praise its strengths.

        Do not include your name(s) anywhere on the assignment. Make up an arbitrary five-digit number for your amendment. Type the number at the top of the page. Save your assignment as a pdf file under a filename of your-five-digit-number.pdf. (If you have named your assignment 12345, your should save it as a pdf file under the name 12345.pdf.) Upload a copy of your pdf file as your answer to the Qualtrics survey question posted at Your upload will be anonymous. Print out a copy of your assignment and bring it with you to class on Wednesday, January 25. If you are working in a team, make sure that every member of the team brings a copy to Wednesday's class. You should each save another copy for your own reference.