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Introduction to Patents, Copyrights, and Similar Exclusive Rights Regimes - Fall 2007

Fall term, 2007
M,T 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Professor Yochai Benkler
4 classroom credits LAW-38885A Fall

The course will offer an introduction to the basic institutional systems that regulate information production and exchange through the definition and allocation of exclusive rights. We will emphasize copyrights and patents, but also explore other regulatory frameworks, like trademarks and trade secrets. The course is designed to provide a basic theoretical and doctrinal grounding, as well as an understanding of the political economy of exclusive rights in information, knowledge, and culture. The emphasis will be on U.S. law, but with some consideration of international law and effects on global flows of information. About one quarter of the classes will use industry studies to work through the way copyrights or patents do, and do not, work. These will include industries whose current business models are particularly dependent on exclusive rights, like the pharmaceutical and music industries, and some that are not so obviously dependent on copyright or patent, like the software industry.

Take home examination.

"Students may not take both this course and the Copyright courses offered by either Professor Samuelson this Fall or Professor Weinreb next Spring or last Spring. Students may take this course and the Patent courses taught by Professor Fisher (next Spring) or Professor Rai (last year) but with one fewer credit for the second course taken because of the overlap."