Copyright in Cyberspace

From Technologies of Politics and Control
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The Internet has enabled individuals to become involved in the production of media and to distribute these contributions widely at a very low cost. The former bastion of the entertainment industry is opening up to what many are calling a democratization of culture. The copyright doctrine of fair use seemingly bolsters the right to "recut, reframe, and recycle" previous works, but the protection fair use gives to those re-purposing copyrighted material is notoriously uncertain.

Digital and file-sharing technologies also spawned the proliferation of sharing of media and music, threatening to turn the copyright regime on its head. This has led to a number of controversial legal and technological strategies to put the genie back in the bottle. The "notice-and-takedown" provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) allow internet service providers to limit their liability for the copyright infringements of their users if they expeditiously remove material in response to complaints from copyright owners. The DMCA provides for counter-notice and "put-back" of removed material, but many argue that the statutory mechanism is biased in favor of copyright owners and chills innovative, constitutionally protected speech.

This class takes up some of the issues swirling around copyright in cyberspace.

Required Readings

A Copyright Primer

Copyleft, Copyright?

Additional Readings (Optional)

Class Resources

Class Introduction

Class Discussion

This Week's Presentations and Responses