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Copyright Reform: Seminar - Fall 2007

Fall 2007

M 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Visiting Professor Pamela Samuelson
2 classroom credits LAW-91888A Fall

This seminar will consider whether the current U.S. copyright law should be reformed and how such a reform might be come about and what some of its features might be. Some reasons to consider reform include the fact that the Copyright Act of 1976 has grown to more than two hundred pages in length. It is also very complex, incomprehensible to a significant degree, and imbalanced in important ways. It lacks, moreover, normative heft. Although the drafters of the Copyright Act of 1976 intended it to be flexible and adaptable as new technologies enabled the creation of new kinds of works, thirty years of experience with the '76 Act has shown that this was an overly optimistic hope. The '76 Act is, moreover, the intellectual work product of a copyright reform process that was initiated in the late 1950's. This legislation was written without giving serious thought to how it would apply to computers, computer programs, or computer networks. Although the statute has repeatedly been amended to deal with technology challenges, this has made the '76 Act less coherent rather than more coherent. Consideration will also be given to how the copyright policymaking process might be reformed.