Most recently revised: April 15, 2016
University of Michigan
Final Revised Syllabus
(This syllabus will change frequently. It's a good idea to check back here after each class to find added links, optional excursions, and revised assignments.)
- Julie E. Cohen, Lydia Pallas Loren, Ruth Gana Okediji & Maureen A, O'Rourke, COPYRIGHT IN A GLOBAL INFORMATION ECONOMY (4th edition 2015)
- 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
I have posted a website for this course at www.umich.edu/~jdlitman/classes/copyright.htm. The website includes this syllabus page, a page with links to references, news, announcements, and items of curiosity, and a page with recommendations for further optional reading. You should consult the site frequently. I will post revised versions of the syllabus and copies of class handouts here.
The authors of your casebook have posted a website at http://www.coolcopyright.com/ with content keyed to the book. It includes links to the unedited version of each case, and useful resources and updates.
The exam in this course will be a 48-hour, take-home examination. During the examination you may consult the casebook, your copy of the copyright statute, a dictionary of the English language, and your own notes. You may not consult any other sources.
No laptops are allowed in class.
- January 13, 14:
- Casebook, pages 3-46
- Spend a bunch of time exploring the links posted at http://www.umich.edu/~jdlitman/classes/copyright/copyref.html. Read an example of recently introduced legislation and try to figure out what it seeks to accomplish. Identify a congenial blog and plan to look in on it once or more each week.
- January 20, 21:
- Casebook, pages 49-109
- 17 USC §§ 101, 102
- Statutory Drafting Exercise due Thursday January 21 at 8:00 pm
- January 25, 27, 28:
- We’ll discuss the statutory drafting exercise in Monday’s class. bring a copy of the draft you worked on with you to class
- Casebook, pages 97-172
- 17 USC §§ 101, 102, 103, 201, 202
- Skim Chapter 3 and Chapter 5 of the COMPENDIUM OF COPYRIGHT OFFICE PRACTICES
- Read Pamela Samuelson, The Story of Baker v. Selden: Sharpening the Distinction between Authorship and Invention, in INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY STORIES (2006) (on course reserve), or online here or here.
- If you’re interested in the debate over whether photographs of copyright-protected objects are copies or derivative works, check out these blog posts from Bill Patry’s Copyright Blog archive, posted back in 2008: Photographs and Derivative Works and Photographs are not Derivative Works Part II.
- Read the University of Michigan SPG 601:28, Who Holds Copyright at or in Affiliation with the University of Michigan. How would the court that decided Rouse v. Walter & Associates (p. 160) evaluate the SPG under 17 USC § 201(b)?
- February 1, 3, 4:
- Casebook, pages 172-243
- 17 USC §§ 101, 102, 105, 113, 117, 120, 201, 204
- Visit Public.Resource.org. Look around.
- Look at some bicycle racks in downtown Ann Arbor:
- Is Mia Cinelli’s Loop a copyrightable sculpture? How about Cinelli’s other works? (The Weight? As it Was? Fayette? Bags to Riches? Infinitea?)
- Skim Chapter 9 of the COMPENDIUM OF COPYRIGHT OFFICE PRACTICES
- Spend some time exploring the architecture of South Hall at the Law School Building Project page. Then, take fifteen minutes to look at the expression of that architecture in the actual building. What does the architects’ copyright protect?
- Hartman-Cox also designed the bridge that connects the 3d floor of Hutchins Hall with the 7th floor of the Cook Legal Research building. Find the bridge and check it out, both from the outside and from the inside. Is the bridge an architectural work? Why or why not? If it is, what does Hartman-Cox’s copyright protect?
- February 8, 10, 11:
- Casebook pages 247-329
- 17 USC §§ 101, 106, 501
- 1909 Act § 1
- Compare Kelly Wilson’s short film The Snowman with a trailer for Disney’s Frozen
- Watch some excerpts from the FX cartoon Archer. View a screenshot. Look at an image of a painting by self-taught artist Michel Leah Keck. Then, look at another.
- Listen to the songs (and look at the scores) at issue in Arnstein v. Porter (p. 275)
- Spend some time at the online Harry Potter Lexicon
- Explore the Organization for Transformative Works Archive of Our Own
- Check out Axanar. If you know anything about Star Trek, watch the official trailer
- February 15, 17, 18:
- Casebook, pages 329-396
- 17 USC §§ 101, 106, 108, 109, 602
- DC Comics v. Towle, 802 F.3d 1012 (9th Cir. 2015)
- Statutory Drafting Exercise due Thursday, February 18 at 8:00 pm
- Take a look at The Composites.
- Visit Mark Towle’s Gotham Garage. See one of his replica batmobiles
- Read a news story about Sherrilyn Kenyon’s copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit against Cassandra Clare, and then read Kenyon’s complaint and her comparison of the two series.
- Read about the Colvins’ suit against Quentin Tarentino and the Weinstein Company over Django Unchained, and then read the complaint.
- February 22, 24, 25:
- Guest lecture: Corynne McSherry, Wednesday, February 24
- We’ll discuss the statutory drafting exercise in Monday’s class. Bring a copy of the draft you worked on with you to class
- Casebook, pages 396-429
- 17 USC § 110, 114, 115, 1001, 1002, 1003, 1008
- Familiarize yourself with ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. How is SoundExchange different?
- Read the jury instructions in Williams v. Bridgeport Music. Then listen to recordings of the songs. If you were a member of the jury, how would you compare the songs in light of the instructions?
- If you are interested in learning more about the EFF’s copyright work, you can read about it here, here, here, here, here and here.
- The Register of Copyright’s 2015 Report, Copyright and the Music Marketplace includes a detailed and clear explanation of the various moving parts complicating copyright in musical works and sound recordings. Read it if you find that you’re confused.
- March 7, 9, 10:
- Guest Lecture, Thursday March 10: Sarang Damle, Deputy General Counsel, U.S. Copyright Office
- Casebook pages 429-47, 449-50, 458-79, 483-492
- 17 USC §§ 106, 106A, 114, 301, 1101
- March 14, 16, 17:
- Casebook, pages 492-565
- 17 USC §§ 107, 501, 502, 503, 504, 512
- Statutory Drafting Exercise due Wednesday March 16 at 7:00 pm
- March 21, 23, 24:
- Guest Lecture, Monday March 21: Andrew Bridges, Fenwick & West
- The reading assignment for Monday’s class is HERE.
- Casebook pages 565-622
- 17 USC § 107
- Read the 1979 Nation article. (You can buy an inexpensive copy of A Time To Heal here or here.)
- Compare Drake’s Hotline Bling with the Philadelphia Police Department’s Hotline Savesies.
- Take a second look at Axanar. Read Paramount’s complaint.
- Read the 2d Circuit’s opinion in Authors Guild v. Google, decided this past October after your Casebook was printed.
- March 28, 30, 31:
- Casebook pages 622-707
- 17 USC §§ 104A, 201, 202, 203, 204, 302, 303, 304, 305, 401, 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 408, 409, 410, 411, 412
- 1909 Act §§ 2,
10, 12, 19, 20, 21, 24, 26, 27, 28
- (You may find this pdf copy of the 1909 Act easier to read)
- Problem Set
- Optional: Professor Lolly Gasaway devised a handy copyright duration chart. You can find it here.
- April 4, 6, 7:
- Problem Set (cont.)
- Casebook pages 708-721
- 17 USC § 201, 202, 204
- April 11, 13, 14:
- Casebook pages 721-59, 861-909
- 17 USC §§ 201, 202, 204, 1201, 1202
- Statutory Drafting Exercise due Thursday April 14 at 6:00 pm
- Visit the Free Software Foundation. Read the GNU General Public License. Read the GNU License F.A.Q.
- Explore Creative Commons. Choose a CC License.
- Explore Professor Dave Touretzky’s Gallery of CSS Descramblers
- Read the Copyright Office F.A.Q. about the triennial section 1201 Rulemaking
- Read the final rule recognizing ten exceptions to section 1201(a)(1)(a)
- Find out how to rip a DVD to your computer
- April 18, 20:
- Bring your laptops to class on Monday, April 18, to complete teaching evaluations during the first 15 minutes of class
- After taking 15 minutes for teaching evaluations, we will discuss the final statutory drafting exercise. Be sure to bring a copy of your draft to class.
- Casebook pages 761-795, 803-815, 831-848
- 17 USC §§ 301, 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, 506, 507
- Copies of exams from prior years, with answers, are posted on Canvas here.