Law 633


Statutory Drafting Exercise #2

Due Thursday, February 15 at 5:00 pm

This assignment is mandatory but ungraded

(We will discuss the assignment in class on Tuesday, February 20)


       Section 109(a) of the copyright statute provides that the owner of any lawfully made copy or phonorecord of a copyright work is entitled to sell, loan, or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy or phonorecord. Whether that right does or should apply when the copy or phonorecord is digital is currently disputed. The Copyright Office has concluded that section 109 does not allow the transfer of digital copies or phonorecords. In Capitol Records v. Redigi (Casebook p. 356), a federal district court agreed. That ruling is currently on appeal.

      Decide whether (and, if so, under what circumstances) purchasers or owners of digital copies or phonorecords should be entitled to dispose of the possession of those copies or phonorecords. Draft a new subsection 109(f) that will unambiguously accomplish that result. You may, if necessary to achieve your goal, also draft one or more new definitions to be inserted in section 101. You should assume that the rest of section 109 will remain unchanged. You may work alone or in teams of two, three, four or five.

        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 Tuesday, February 20. If you are working in a team, make sure that every member of the team brings a copy to Tuesday's class. You should each save another copy for your own reference.