Copyright law is currently far too long, too complex, and largely incomprehensible, especially as to non-professionals. It is also the work product of pre-computer technology era. This law, moreover, lacks normative heft. That is, it does not embody a clear vision about what its normative purposes are.
This talk will offer some preliminary thoughts about why copyright reform is needed, why it will be difficult to undertake, and why notwithstanding these difficulties, it may nonetheless be worth doing. It offers suggestions about how one might go about trimming the statute to a more manageable length, articulating more simply its core normative purposes, and spinning certain situation-specific provisions off into a rulemaking process.
Thirty years after enactment of the ‘76 Act, with the benefit of considerable experience with computer and other advanced technologies and the rise of amateur creators, it may finally be possible to think through in a more comprehensive way how to adapt copyright to digital networked environments as well as how to maintain its integrity as to existing industry products and services that do not exist outside of the digital realm.
Pamela Samuelson is a Professor at the University of California at Berkeley with a joint appointment in the School of Information Management and Systems and the School of Law. She is also Co-Director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. Her principal area of expertise is intellectual property law. She has written and spoken extensively about the challenges that new information technologies are posing for public policy and traditional legal regimes and is an advisor for the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic. Since 2002, she has also been an honorary professor at the University of Amsterdam.