University of Michigan Law School
4 hours - Jessica Litman
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- Julie E. Cohen, Lydia Pallas Loren, Ruth Gana Okediji & Maureen A, O'Rourke, COPYRIGHT IN A GLOBAL INFORMATION ECONOMY (4th edition 2015)
- 2016 Case Supplement (available as a free download here or here)
- A copy of the Copyright statute available to purchase (for $8) here; available to download for free (but you will need to print it out, and it’s long) here, here, or here; and available to read online here
Copyright reference sources on the Internet:
- The copyright statute: Title 17 of the US Code (current as of July, 2015)
- United States Copyright
- Another copy of the copyright statute (current as of December, 2011) and recently enacted amendments
- The Compendium of Copyright Office Practices (3d edition 2014)
- Recent Copyright Office Studies:
- Copyright and the Music Marketplace (February 2015)
- Orphan Works and Mass Digitization (June 2015)
- The Making Available Right in the United States (February 2016)
- Software Enabled Consumer Products (December 2016)
- Resale Royalties: An Updated Analysis (December 2013)
- Copyright Small Claims (September 2013)
- List, with links, of current, ongoing studies
- House Report 94-1476, accompanying the 1976 Copyright Act (1976)
- Copyright Law Revision Studies (1955-1960)
- House Judiciary Committee U.S. Copyright Review (with public comments)
- Primary Sources on Copyright: 1450 to 1900
- Professor Laura Gassaway's Chart: "When Works Pass Into the Public Domain"
- Terry J. Carroll’s 2002 Copyright F.A.Q.
- Rob Kasunic's Copyright Law and Litigation Resource (including a copy of the 1909 Copyright Act)
- Authors Alliance Guide to Understanding Open Access
- Spider Robinson's 1983 short story: Melancholy Elephants
- U.S. Government Executive Branch resources:
- U.S. Department of Justice Intellectual Property Task Force
- White House Office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator
- U.S. Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force 2013 Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity and Innovation in the Digital Economy with links to comments submitted in response to the Report, and 2016 White Paper on Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages
- U.S. National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center("Protection is Our Trademark")
- U.S. Trade Representative Office of Intellectual Property and Innovation
- Resources hosted by universities:
- USC/Columbia Music Copyright Infringement Resource collection of MIDI files, MP3 files, and partial scores from songs involved in infringment cases
- Stanford University Library Copyright & Fair Use Site
- Stanford University Library Copyright Renewal Database
- Columbia Law School's KeepYourCopyrights.org resource for creators
- yin and yang: The University of Michigan Library Copyright Information site and the University of Michigan Digital Copyright Compliance site
- Duke Law School Center for the Study of the Public Domain
- George Mason University Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property
- Harvard Berkman Center’s Lumen project
- Berkeley Law Scholarship Repository: Copyright Principles Project: Directions for Reform (2010)
- University of Pennsylvania Digital Library Online Books Page: Information about the Catalog of Copyright Entries
- University of New Hampshire IP Mall Copyright Collection (scroll to the bottom)
- University of Nottingham Center for Research Communications
- Resources posted by NGOs and other organizations interested in copyright
- Authors Alliance Issues for Authors
- The Authors Guild: Where We Stand
- BSA-The Software Alliance: Studies and Research
- The Center for Copyright Information: Resources and Frequently Asked Questions about the Copyright Alert System and the Independent Review Program
- Computer & Communications Industry Association
- Copyright Clearance Center: Learn About Copyright
- Creative Commons
- Electronic Frontier Foundation: Teaching Copyright Curriculum
- Free Software Foundation: Resources
- Future of Music Coalition: Education, Research and Advocacy for Musicians
- International Federation of the Phonographic Industry: Resources and Reports
- Knowledge Ecology International: Publications and Research Notes
- Library Copyright Alliance
- International Intellectual Property Alliance: Studies and Reports
- SoundExchange: Advocacy
- International Copyright Resources
- The World Intellectual Property Organization
- The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
- The WIPO COPYRIGHT TREATY
- The WIPO PERFORMANCES AND PHONOGRAMS TREATY
- Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled
- WIPO Lex (searchable database of national IP laws)
- Wittem Project Model European Copyright Code
- EBLIDA (European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations)
- European Commission Communication: Towards a more modern, more European copyright framework (December 9, 2015)
- UNESCO's collection of national copyright laws
- Comparative Copyright Resources
- Australian Copyright Council
- Australian Digital Alliance
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office Copyrights page.
- Lehman, Lee & Xu's Intellectual Property Laws and Regulations in China
- Government of India Copyright Office
- Japan Copyright Research and Information Center
- U.K. Intellectual Property Office
(I warrant neither quality nor accuracy. If you explore these blogs, you will find a wide range of views on whether copyright law is essential to any just society, more trouble that it is worth, or something in between. Only some of the blogs are written by lawyers. Find one that speaks to you and check it weekly.)
- Rebecca Tushnet’s 43(b)log
- Terry Hart’s Copyhype
- The 1709 Copyright Blog
- Jonathan Bailey’s Plagiarism Today
- DisCo (Disruptive Competition Project)
- Future of Music Coalition Future Blog
- The Fashion Law blog
- Michael Geist’s Tech Law Topics Blog
- Chris Castle’s Music Technology Policy blog
- Music Law Updates blog
- Creative Commons weblog
- David Newhoff’s The Illusion of More
- The MTTLR Blog
- Copyright Alliance Blog
- Kluwer Copyright Blog
- Bill Rosenblatt’s Copyright and Technology blog
- Creative Future blog
- YouTube Creator blog
- The Trichordist
- Ellen Seidler’s Vox Indie
- That Song Sounds Like
- You Thought We Wouldn't Notice
- Stop Stealing Photos wall of shame
- Bill Patry's Copyright Blog archive (2005-09)
- New: U.S. Copyright Office Blog: Copyright —Creativity at Work
News about copyright-affected industries
Thoughtful documentary films about copyright law
Organizations and businesses heavily involved in copyright:
- A2K network.org
- American Library Association
- ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and Global Music Rights
- Association of American Publishers
- Association of Research Libraries
- Authors Alliance
- The Authors Guild
- BSA | The Software Alliance
- Center for Copyright Information
- Computer & Communications Industry Association
- Copyright Clearance Center
- Content Creators Coalition
- Copyright Society of the U.S.A.
- Creative Commons
- Digital Media Association
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Entertainment Software Association
- Free Software Foundation
- The Future of Music Coalition
- Grammy Creators Alliance
- HathiTrust Digital Library
- International Federation of the Phonographic Industry
- The Internet Archive
- Library Copyright Alliance
- MIC Coalition
- Motion Picture Association of America
- musicFIRST Coalition
- Music Matters Campaign
- National Music Publishers Association
- National Writers Union
- Open Media International
- Organization for Transformative Works
- Professional Photographers of America
- Project Gutenberg
- Public Knowledge
- Public Library of Science
- The Recording Industry Association of America
- Software & Information Industry Association
- YouTube Music Publisher Partner Guide
A sampling of Internet sites raising copyright questions:
- Archive of Our Own
- calvin and hobbes: The Search Engine, by Mike Yingling
- CopySense Network Appliance
- The Dash, by Linda Ellis (scroll down)
- DJ Earworm
- Garfield minus Garfield
- The Gluten-Free Museum
- The Hawkeye Initiative
- HowItShouldHaveEnded.com and How It Should Have Ended YouTube Channel
- The Indigo Book
- InfinityBox Press
- Internet Archive
- Kickstarter: Story Surgeon — The App for Fixing Someone Else’s Book
- Barry Kite’s Aberrant Art
- Musicless Music Videos
- The Office Time Machine
- Open Access Button
- Pack Rat Studios
- The Pirate Bay
- Pogo’s movie remixes on YouTube
- Prevuze (Days of Our Lives spoilers)
- ReDigi (via archive.org)
- Sci-Hub (Elsevier has apparently prevailed upon some domain name registrars to block Sci-Hub’s domain names. If that link doesn't resolve, try http://sci-hub.cc/)
- Semaphore Press
- StarWars Uncut
- Steven Soderbergh’s Re-Edit of 2001: A Space Odyssey
- Telebubby Fun Land
- Professor David Touretzky’s Gallery of CSS Descramblers
- Warriors of the Empire
NEWS & OTHER INTERESTING THINGS...
- (At least some observers responded to the announcement with a reminder that, back in September, public interest organization Public Knowledge published a report, Captured: Systemic Bias at the U.S. Copyright Office, complaining that the revolving door between the Copyright Office and copyright industries had allowed copyright owners to "capture" the Copyright Office, which had affected the Office’s recommendations on law and policy. The AAP’s appointment of Pallante would seem consistent with that story.)
3/22/17 -- Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands is out. In an opinion by Justice Thomas, the majority affirmed, holding that:
- a feature incorporated
into the design of a useful article is eligible for
copyright protection only if the feature (1) can be perceived
as a two- or three-dimensional work of art separate
from the useful article and (2) would qualify as a protectable pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work—either on its
own or fixed in some other tangible medium of expression —if
it were imagined separately from the useful article
into which it is incorporated.
Justice Ginsburg concurred in the judgment but not the opinion. Justice Breyer, joined by Justice Kennedy, dissented.
3/15/17 -- Flo & Eddie, the owner of rights to the recordings of the 1960s band the Turtles, has sued Pandora and Sirius in California, New York and Florida state courts, claiming that the services’ public performance of Turtles pre-1972 sound recordings violates state copyright law. Following the lead of the Second and Eleventh Circuits, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today certified the question whether California state law protects exclusive public performance rights in the Turtle’s sound recordings to the California Supreme Court.
3/10/10 -- The Copyright Royalty Board announced this morning that the royalties collected last year under the Audio Home Recording Act declined precipitously, and there is not enough money in the fund to pay for the annual distribution proceeding required by the statute. Therefore, "as a matter of administrative necessity," the royalty judges will not consider filings related to distribution of the AHRA royalty fund "until further notice."
3/9/17 -- Nine years ago, architect Fernando Donis won an international competition for the design of a monument and tourist attraction to be built in the city of Dubai. Donis and the government of Dubai had significant disagreements over the contract for constructing the project. The city went on to build its own reconceptualized version of the project without him. Donis has sued Dubai in D.C. district court for copyright infringement. Read Peter S. Goodman’s story for the New York Times.
2/17/17 -- The creators of the Spanish television series El Ministerio del Tiempo sued NBC and Sony for copyright infringement, claiming that the series Timeless was an unabashed ripoff of their series. On Tuesday, the judge denied defendants’ motion to dimsiss the suit. Read Ashley Cullins’s story for the Hollywood Reporter.
2/17/17 -- BMG sued Internet service provider Cox Communications for willful contributory copyright infringment because Cox subscribers used peer-to-peer filesharing apps to upload and download copyrighted music files. Cox argued that its actions were shelted by the sale harbor for online service providers in 17 USC § 512. The judge disagreed, ruling that Cox’s failure to terminate subscribers who enaged in P2P file sharing disqualified from the sale harbor. A jury awarded BMG $ 25 million in damages. Cox has appealed. Meanwhile, on February 14, the judge awarded BMG $ 8 million in attorneys fees. Read Mike Masnick’s post for Techdirt.
2/12/17 -- The Association of Research Libraries has designated the last week in February as Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week. A coalition of libraries, universities, and public interest organizations will be celebrating Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week this year on February 20-24. You can see a list of University of Michigan Fair Use Week events here.
2/9/17 -- Spinrilla is a streaming site and mobile app that provides free access to thousands of hip hop mixtapes posted by users. This week, the Recording Industry Association of America sued Spinrilla for copyright infringement. Read Ernesto’s blog post for TorrentFreak.
2/3/17 -- PublicResource.org pursues a mission of making law publicly available. The site has posted the text of a variety of technical and safety codes that are incorporated by reference into federal stautes and regulations. The American Society for Testing Materials and other standards organizations who sell copies of these privately drafted codes sued PublicResource.org for copyright infringement. Yesterday, D.D.C. Judge Tanya Chutkan granted ASTMs’ summary judgment motion and entered a permanent injunction enjoining PublicResource.org from distributing, displaying or creating derivative works from its standards. The judge ruled that the standards were not government works under section 105 because they were not created by government officers or employees.
2/2/17 -- ZeniMax Media sued Oculus (as well as its founder Palmer Lucky and its current owner Facebook), claiming that Lucky had breached his non-disclosure agreement, misappropriated ZeniMax trade secrets, and infringed its copyrights and trademarks.The Hollywood Reporter’s Ashley Cullins and Natalie Jarvey report that on Wednesday, the Dallas jury rejected the trade secret and breach of contract claims, but found in favor of ZeniMax on the copyright and trademark infringement claims, and awarded $500 million in damages.
1/29/17 -- Four years ago, trade associations for major copyright owners and Internet service providers announced a graduated reponse or copyright alert program (popularly known as "six strikes"), under which individual subscribers accused of peer-to-peer file sharing would be sent a series of increasingly severe warnings culminating in the imposition of restrictions on their use of online services. The program was a voluntary private agreement, although the Obama White House had brought significant pressure to bear to encourage its adoption. On Friday, the participants in the program announced that they were discontinuing it. Read Ted Johnson’s story for Variety.
1/27/17 -- Nature magazine’s Richard Van Noorden reports that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation policy requiring research that it funds to be published in in journals or venues that offer open-access and open data precludes publication of that research in some of the most pretigious jounrals, including Nature magazine.
1/23/17 -- The Copyright Office has announced that it is undertaking a new policy study on authors’ moral rights of attribution and integrity andhas published a notice of inquiry in the Federal Register seeking public comments on whether (and how) current federal and state law affords authors effective protection.
1/21/17 -- In 2013, pastry chef Duff Goldman created an elaborate, nine-tier layer cake for the Commander-in-Chief ball held during President Obama’s second inauguration. On Friday, the Salute Our Armed Services inaugural ball featured an elaborate, nine tier layer cake. Vice President Pence cut into it with a sword. Mr. Goldman did not make that cake. Washington Post journalists Amy B. Wang and Tim Carman report that the Buttercream Bakeshop was asked to recreate the cake from a photograph of the Obama inauguration. The client apparently insisted that the cake look exactly like the cake in the picture.
1/19/17 -- Moppet Books publishes KinderGuides, illustrated books described as "early learning guides" that purport to introduce classic works of modern literature to young children. Current titles include Kerouac’s On The Road, Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea, Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. This week, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and the trustees managing the estates of Truman Capote, Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway, and Arthur C. Clarke filed a copyright infringment suit against Moppet Books seeking an injunction, damages, profits, attorneys fees, and destruction of all copies of the KinderGuides. Read Calvin Reid’s blog post for Publishers Weekly and Eriq Gardner’s story for the Hollywood Reporter.
1/19/17 -- Section 304 of the copyright statute entitles authors of works who assigned their copyrights before 1978 to retrieve them from their current owners after the copyright has been in force for 56 years, by jumping through a bunch of complicated hoops. Sir Paul McCartney has apparently been trying to exercise his termination right to get the rights to the Beatles songs back from Sony for the past decade. Sony apparently has not been cooperative. It takes the position that since the copyright assignments were executed in the UK, US statutory termination rights don't apply. Now, Sir Paul has filed suit in U.S. federal court seeking a declaratory judgment. The Hollywood Reporter’s Eriq Gardner has posted the story and a copy of the complaint.
1/16/27 -- A coalition of public interest organizations has named the week of January 16 Copyright Week. The date commemorates the failure of the Stop Online Piracy Act in 2012 following widespread Internet protests. (Copyright Week should not be confused with Fair Use Week, scheduled this year for the week of February 20- 24). Each day of copyright week has its own focus. Check it out.
1/15/16 -- Ashley Cullins reports in Billboard that singer-songwriter-turned-hair-stylist Richard Morrill has filed a copyright infringement suit against Gwen Stefani and Pharrel Williams. Moirill claims that Stefani and Williams copied Spark the Fire from his 1996 song, Who’s Got My Lightah? Morill alleges that he played the song for Stefani when he was styling her hair. She liked it, so he gave her a CD to take home with her. Sixteen years later, Morrill claims, Stefani and Williams copied the lyrics, rhythm, melody, and background music of the chorus of his song for the chorus of Spark the Fire.
1/12/17 -- When Maria Pallante was Register of Copyrights (2011-16), she frequently complained that the Office should be an independent agency rather than stuck in the Library of Congress. A few months after Carla Hayden came to the Library as the 14th Librarian of Congress, she fired Pallante from the Register position. Today, the Association of American Publishers, a print-publisher trade group that lobbies the government on behalf of its members, announced that Pallante will be its next President.
1/12/17 -- Record labels have long differentiated between the royalty they pay on sales of records and the (more generous) percentage of licensing revenue they pay when they license the recordings to others. Recording artists insist that digital downloads licensed through iTunes and other music services should count as licenses and be subject to the higher percentage royalty. Record labels, however, maintain that digital downloads are sales and should be compensated at the lower rate. Eminem sued his label and won, but record companies continue to insist that the Eminem case shouldn't be deemed to have set a precedent. That has left individual recording artists to file their own lawsuits against their labels. The latest is a suit filed by Richard Carpenter, of The Carpenters, against A & M Records. Read Chris Cooke’s story for Complete Music Update.
1/10/17 -- CNN reports that Monica Crowley, President-Elect Trump’s choice for the National Security Council’s senior director of strategic communications, plagiarized many parts of her 2012 Book, What The (Bleep) Just Happened? Politico magazine is piling on, reporting that Crowley also plagiarized "numerous passages in her Ph.D. disertation." Both articles list examples. The Associated Press reports that Crowley’s publisher has suspended sales of the book.
1/6/17 -- Alec Peters used Kickstarter and Indiegogo to raise money to fund a Star Trek fan film. In 2014, Peters released a trailer, Prelude to Axanar. In 2015, Paramount and CBS filed a copyright infringement suit. On January 3, federal district court judge Charles A. Rojas issued an opinion, denying both parties’ motions for summary judgment, but holding that Axanar is not entitled to a fair use defense. Read Cyrus Farivar’s story for Ars Technica.
12/20/16 -- Federal copyright law protects sound recordings if they were made after February 15, 1972. Pre-1972 sound recordings are protected, if at all, only under state law. In the past few years, the Turtles, a 1960s rock band, have brought a series of lawsuits claiming that Sirius XM and Pandora are infringing their state law rights by streaming their recordings. (Sirius XM and Pandora have licenses under the current copyright act to stream both music and sound recordings, but the Turtles have claimed that those licenses can't cover pre-1972 sound recordings.) The Turtles persuaded the district court for the Southern District of New York of the soundness of their position. On appeal, the Second Circuit certified the question whether New York State law affords a public performance right. Today, the New York Court of Appeals issued its opinion, holding that New York law does not protect and has never protected a right of public performance for sound recordings.
12/16/16 -- The Librarian of Congress, who fired former Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante in October, has posted an online survey seeking public input on the expertise needed by the Register of Copyrights to help the Librarian in appointing Pallante's successor. You have until the end of January to weigh in.
12/13/16 -- In a not-unrelated move, Bob Goodlatte and John Conyers, chairman and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, have released a one-page summary of their vision of Copyright Office Reform.
12/1/16 -- A jury has concluded that the musical Jersey Boys infringes the copyright in Tommy DeVito’s unpublished autobiography. Read Ashley Cullin’s story for the Hollywood Reporter.
New Bills in the 115th Congress:
- H.R. 192, Direct Broadcast Satellite Expansion Act
- H.R. 881, Allocation for Music Producers Act
- H.R. 890, Copyright Office for the Digital Economy Act
- H.R. 905, You Own Devices Act
Return to the syllabus
Send an email message to me at jdlitman -at- umich.edu