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Intellectual Property Law

Columbia Law School

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Floors And Ceilings In International Copyright Treaties (Berne/Trips/Wct Minima And Maxima), Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2020

Floors And Ceilings In International Copyright Treaties (Berne/Trips/Wct Minima And Maxima), Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

This Comment addresses “floors” – minimum substantive international protections, and “ceilings” – maximum substantive international protections, set out in the Berne Convention and subsequent multilateral copyright accords. While much scholarship has addressed Berne minima, the “maxima” have generally received less attention. This Comment first describes the general structure of the Berne Convention, TRIPS and WCT regarding these contours, and then analyzes their application to the recent “press publishers’ right” promulgated in the 2019 EU Digital Single Market Directive.

Within the universe of multilateral copyright obligations, the Berne maxima (prohibition of protection for facts and news of the day), buttressed by the TRIPS ...


Fair Use Factor Four Revisited: Valuing The "Value Of The Copyrighted Work" – Essay, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2020

Fair Use Factor Four Revisited: Valuing The "Value Of The Copyrighted Work" – Essay, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

Recent caselaw has restored the prominence of the fourth statutory factor – “the effect of the use upon the market for or value of the copyrighted work” – in the fair use analysis. The revitalization of the inquiry should also occasion renewed reflection on its meaning. As digital media bring to the fore new or previously under-examined kinds of harm, courts not only need to continue refining their appreciation of a work’s markets. They must also expand their analyses beyond the traditional inquiry into whether the challenged use substitutes for an actual or potential market for the work. Courts should acknowledge ...


A United States Perspective On Digital Single Market Directive Art. 17, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2020

A United States Perspective On Digital Single Market Directive Art. 17, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

To a US appraiser, article 17 of the Digital Single Market Directive suggests the EU has learned from American mistakes (and from its own) in the allocation of internet intermediaries’ liability for hosting and communicating user-posted content. Before the DSM Directive, art. 14 of the 2000 eCommerce Directive set out a notice-and-takedown system very similar to the regime provided in 17 U.S.C. section 512(c). Both regimes replaced the normal copyright default, which requires authorization to exploit works, with a limitation on the liability of service providers who complied with statutory prerequisites. Because the limitation ensured that service ...


Foreign Contracts And U.S. Copyright Termination Rights: What Law Applies? – Comment, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2020

Foreign Contracts And U.S. Copyright Termination Rights: What Law Applies? – Comment, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

The U.S. Copyright Act gives authors the right to terminate assignments of copyrights in works other than works for hire executed on or after 1 January 1978 after 35 years, and to do so notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary. Given that agreements which are subject to the laws of other countries can assign U.S. copyrights, and purport to do so in perpetuity, U.S. law’s preclusion of agreements contrary to the author’s right to exercise her termination right can give rise to a difficult choice of law issue. Two recent cases which came before courts ...


Fair Use In The United States: Transformed, Deformed, Reformed?, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2019

Fair Use In The United States: Transformed, Deformed, Reformed?, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1994 adoption of “transformative use” as a criterion for evaluating the first statutory fair use factor (“nature and purpose of the use”), “transformative use” analysis has engulfed all of fair use, becoming transformed, and perhaps deformed, in the process. A finding of “transformativeness” often foreordained the ultimate outcome, as the remaining factors, especially the fourth (impact of the use on the market for or value of the copied work), withered into restatements of the first. For a time, moreover, courts’ characterization of uses as “transformative” seemed ever more generous (if not in some ...


Embedding Content Or Interring Copyright: Does The Internet Need The "Server Rule"?, Jane C. Ginsburg, Luke Ali Budiardjo Jan 2019

Embedding Content Or Interring Copyright: Does The Internet Need The "Server Rule"?, Jane C. Ginsburg, Luke Ali Budiardjo

Faculty Scholarship

The “server rule” holds that online displays or performances of copyrighted content accomplished through “in-line” or “framing” hyperlinks do not trigger the exclusive rights of public display or performance unless the linker also possesses a copy of the underlying work. As a result, the rule shields a vast array of online activities from claims of direct copyright infringement, effectively exempting those activities from the reach of the Copyright Act. While the server rule has enjoyed relatively consistent adherence since its adoption in 2007, some courts have recently suggested a departure from that precedent, noting the doctrinal and statutory inconsistencies underlying ...


Authors And Machines, Jane C. Ginsburg, Luke Ali Budiardjo Jan 2018

Authors And Machines, Jane C. Ginsburg, Luke Ali Budiardjo

Faculty Scholarship

Machines, by providing the means of mass production of works of authorship, engendered copyright law. Throughout history, the emergence of new technologies tested the concept of authorship, and courts in response endeavored to clarify copyright’s foundational principles. Today, developments in computer science have created a new form of machine – the “artificially intelligent” system apparently endowed with “computational creativity” – that introduces challenging variations on the perennial question of what makes one an “author” in copyright law: Is the creator of a generative program automatically the author of the works her process begets, even if she cannot anticipate the contents of ...


Liability For Providing Hyperlinks To Copyright-Infringing Content: International And Comparative Law Perspectives, Jane C. Ginsburg, Luke Ali Budiardjo Jan 2017

Liability For Providing Hyperlinks To Copyright-Infringing Content: International And Comparative Law Perspectives, Jane C. Ginsburg, Luke Ali Budiardjo

Faculty Scholarship

Hyperlinking, at once an essential means of navigating the Internet, but also a frequent means to enable infringement of copyright, challenges courts to articulate the legal norms that underpin domestic and international copyright law, in order to ensure effective enforcement of exclusive rights on the one hand, while preserving open communication on the Internet on the other. Several recent cases, primarily in the European Union, demonstrate the difficulties of enforcing the right of communication to the public (or, in US copyright parlance, the right of public performance by transmission) against those who provide hyperlinks that effectively deliver infringing content to ...


Extended Collective Licenses In International Treaty Perspective: Issues And Statutory Implementation, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2017

Extended Collective Licenses In International Treaty Perspective: Issues And Statutory Implementation, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

National legislation establishing extended collective licenses (ECLs) “authoriz[es] a collective organization to license all works within a category, such as literary works, for particular, limited uses, regardless of whether copyright owners belong to the organization or not. The collective then negotiates agreements with user groups, and the terms of those agreements are binding upon all copyright owners by operation of law.” Albeit authorized under national laws, collective coverage of non-members’ works may pose issues of compatibility with international norms. For example, if non-members must opt-out in order to preserve the individual management of their rights, is the opt-out a ...


Intellectual Property As Seen By Barbie And Mickey: The Reciprocal Relationship Of Copyright And Trademark Law, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2017

Intellectual Property As Seen By Barbie And Mickey: The Reciprocal Relationship Of Copyright And Trademark Law, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

Some years ago, caselaw on trademark parodies and similar unauthorized “speech” uses of trademarks could have led one to conclude that the law had no sense of humor. Over time, however, courts in the US and elsewhere began to leaven likelihood of confusion analyses with healthy skepticism regarding consumers’ alleged inability to perceive a joke. These decisions did not always expressly cite the copyright fair use defense, but the considerations underlying the copyright doctrine seemed to inform trademark analysis as well. The spillover effect may indeed have been inevitable, as several of the cases in which the fair use defense ...


The Whole Is More Public Domain Than The Parts?: Us Copyright Protection For Works Of Applied Art Under Star Athletica's Imagination Test, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2017

The Whole Is More Public Domain Than The Parts?: Us Copyright Protection For Works Of Applied Art Under Star Athletica's Imagination Test, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

In Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to resolve confusion in the lower courts regarding the “separability” predicate to copyright protection of decorative features of useful articles. The case involved the “surface decorations” of stripes, chevrons, and color blocks applied to cheerleader uniforms. While the Supreme Court clarified the meaning and application of the “separability” standard for the kinds of decorative elements there at issue, the fate of other artistic “features” of useful articles, particularly their three dimensional forms, remains murky. Much of the Court’s analysis points toward a prophylactic rule excluding the entire shape ...


Berne-Forbidden Formalities And Mass Digitization, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2016

Berne-Forbidden Formalities And Mass Digitization, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay addresses the Berne Convention's prohibition on the imposition of "formalities" on the "enjoyment and the exercise" of copyright, and the compatibility with that cornerstone norm of international endeavors to facilitate mass digitization, notably by means of extended collective licensing and "opt-out" authorizations. In the Berne context, "enjoyment" means the existence and scope of rights; "exercise" means their enforcement. Voluntary provision of copyright notice and of title-searching information on a public register of works and transfers of rights is fully consistent with Berne and should be encouraged. But the Berne Convention significantly constrains member states' ability to impose ...


Overview Of Copyright Law, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2016

Overview Of Copyright Law, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

This article offers an overview of copyright in general in common law and civil law countries, with an emphasis on the U.S. and the European Union. It addresses the history and philosophies of copyright (authors’ right), subject matter of copyright (including the requirement of fixation and the exclusion of “ideas”), formalities, initial ownership and transfers of title, duration, exclusive moral and economic rights (including reproduction, adaptation, public performance and communication and making available to the public, distribution and exhaustion of the distribution right), exceptions and limitations (including fair use), and remedies. The article also covers the liability of intermediaries ...


"Courts Have Twisted Themselves Into Knots": Us Copyright Protection For Applied Art, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2016

"Courts Have Twisted Themselves Into Knots": Us Copyright Protection For Applied Art, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

In copyright law, the marriage of beauty and utility often proves fraught. Domestic and international law makers have struggled to determine whether, and to what extent, copyright should cover works that are both artistic and functional. The U.S. Copyright Act protects a work of applied art "only if, and only to the extent that, its design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article." While the policy goal to separate the aesthetic from the functional is clear, courts' application of the statutory ...


The Most Moral Of Rights: The Right To Be Recognized As The Author Of One's Work, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2016

The Most Moral Of Rights: The Right To Be Recognized As The Author Of One's Work, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

The U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress to secure for limited times the exclusive right of authors to their writings. Curiously, those rights, as enacted in our copyright laws, have not included a general right to be recognized as the author of one's writings. Yet, the interest in being identified with one's work is fundamental, whatever the conception of the philosophical or policy basis for copyright. The basic fairness of giving credit where it is due advances both the author-regarding and the public-regarding aspects of copyright.

Most national copyright laws guarantee the right of attribution (or "paternity"); the leading ...


Berne-Forbidden Formalities And Mass Digitization, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2016

Berne-Forbidden Formalities And Mass Digitization, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay addresses the Berne Convention’s prohibition on the imposition of “formalities” on the “enjoyment and the exercise” of copyright, and the compatibility with that cornerstone norm of international endeavors to facilitate mass digitization, notably by means of extended collective licensing and “opt-out” authorizations. The Essay begins with a brief overview of the history of formalities conditioning the existence and enforcement of copyright, and the policies underlying their prohibition in Berne article 5(2). Next, it addresses declaratory measures that Berne explicitly authorizes, as well as those of more questionable conformity with treaty norms. It then takes up the ...


Intellectual Property In News? Why Not?, Sam Ricketson, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2016

Intellectual Property In News? Why Not?, Sam Ricketson, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

This Chapter addresses arguments for and against property rights in news, from the outset of national law efforts to safeguard the efforts of newsgathers, through the various unsuccessful attempts during the early part of the last century to fashion some form of international protection within the Berne Convention on literary and artistic works and the Paris Convention on industrial property. The Chapter next turns to contemporary endeavors to protect newsgatherers against “news aggregation” by online platforms. It considers the extent to which the aggregated content might be copyrightable, and whether, even if the content is protected, various exceptions set out ...


Proto-Property In Literary And Artistic Works: Sixteenth-Century Papal Printing Privileges, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2015

Proto-Property In Literary And Artistic Works: Sixteenth-Century Papal Printing Privileges, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

This Study endeavors to reconstruct the Vatican’s precursor system of copyright, and the author’s place in it, inferred from examination of over five hundred privileges and petitions and related documents – almost all unpublished – in the Vatican Secret Archives. The typical account of the precopyright world of printing privileges, particularly in Venice, France and England, portrays a system primarily designed to promote investment in the material and labor of producing and disseminating books; protecting or rewarding authorship was at most an ancillary objective.

The sixteenth-century Papal privileges found in the Archives, however, prompt some rethinking of that story because ...


Private International Law Aspects Of Authors' Contracts: The Dutch And French Examples, Jane C. Ginsburg, Pierre Sirinelli Jan 2015

Private International Law Aspects Of Authors' Contracts: The Dutch And French Examples, Jane C. Ginsburg, Pierre Sirinelli

Faculty Scholarship

Copyright generally vests in the author, the human creator of the work. But because, at least until recently, most authors have been ill-equipped to commercialize and disseminate their works on their own, the author has granted rights to intermediaries to market her works. Since most authors are the weaker parties to publishing, production, or distribution contracts, the resulting deal may favor the interests of the intermediary to the detriment of the author’s interests. Many national copyright laws have introduced a variety of corrective measures, from the very first copyright act, the 1710 British Statute of Anne, which instituted the ...


On Aereo And "Avoision", Rebecca Giblin, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2014

On Aereo And "Avoision", Rebecca Giblin, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

Avoision describes conduct which seeks to exploit 'the differences between a law's goals and its self-defined limits' – a phenomenon particularly apparent in tax law. This short paper explains how the technology company Aereo utilised avoision strategies in an attempt to design its way out of liability under US copyright law. The authors argue that existing formulations encourage such strategies by applying differently depending on how the transaction is structured, resulting in a wasteful devotion of resources to hyper-technical compliance with the letter rather than meaning and purpose of the law.?


Intellectual Property Experimentalism By Way Of Competition Law, Tim Wu Jan 2014

Intellectual Property Experimentalism By Way Of Competition Law, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

Competition law and Intellectual Property have divergent intellectual cultures – the former more pragmatic and experimentalist; the latter influenced by natural law and vested rights. The US Supreme Court decision in Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis is an intellectual victory for the former approach, one that suggests that antitrust law can and should be used to introduce greater scrutiny of the specific consequences of intellectual property grants.


We (Still) Need To Talk About Aereo: New Controversies And Unresolved Questions After The Supreme Court's Decision, Rebecca Giblin, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2014

We (Still) Need To Talk About Aereo: New Controversies And Unresolved Questions After The Supreme Court's Decision, Rebecca Giblin, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

Recent judicial interpretations of U.S. copyright law have prompted businesses to design technologies in ways that enable the making and transmission of copies of works to consumers while falling outside the scope of the owner's exclusive rights. The archetypal example is Aereo Inc.'s system for providing online access to broadcast television, which the Supreme Court has now ruled results in infringing public performances by Aereo.

In previous work we urged the Court to develop a principled reading of the transmit clause focusing on the particular use rather than on the technical architecture of the delivery service (Giblin ...


Comments On Alrc Discussion Paper 79, Copyright And The Digital Economy, June M. Besek, Jane C. Ginsburg, Philippa Loengard Jan 2013

Comments On Alrc Discussion Paper 79, Copyright And The Digital Economy, June M. Besek, Jane C. Ginsburg, Philippa Loengard

Faculty Scholarship

We provide these comments in connection with the Australian Law Reform Commission’s ongoing study of copyright and the digital economy, and in particular its request for comments on the recommendations put forth in its Discussion Paper 79 (June 2013). We focus on US law, and how the US experience bears on the possibility of an open-ended uncompensated "fair use" type exception in Australia, and other related issues.

The fair use doctrine in the US provides great flexibility, but that flexibility in many instances comes at the cost of certainty and predictability. We are not suggesting that reasonable judgments cannot ...


Speaking Of Moral Rights, A Conversation, Jane C. Ginsburg, Eva E. Subotnik Jan 2012

Speaking Of Moral Rights, A Conversation, Jane C. Ginsburg, Eva E. Subotnik

Faculty Scholarship

A transcribed conversation about moral rights in the digital age — in respect of some of the legal and technological developments that have occurred since Professor Jane Ginsburg's 2001 essay, Have Moral Rights Come of (Digital) Age in the United States?, 19 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L. J. 9 (2001).


The Us Experience With Copyright Formalities: A Love/Hate Relationship, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2010

The Us Experience With Copyright Formalities: A Love/Hate Relationship, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

Copyright formalities – conditions precedent to the existence or enforcement of copyright, such as provision of information about works of authorship that will put the public on notice as to a work’s protected status and its copyright ownership, or deposit of copies of the work for the national library or other central authority, or local manufacture of copies of works of foreign origin – have performed a variety of functions in US copyright history. Perhaps of most practical importance today, formalities predicate to the existence or enforcement of copyright can serve to shield large copyright owners who routinely comply with formalities ...


Subsidizing Creativity Through Network Design: Zero Pricing And Net Neutrality, Robin S. Lee, Tim Wu Jan 2009

Subsidizing Creativity Through Network Design: Zero Pricing And Net Neutrality, Robin S. Lee, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

Today, through historical practice, there exists a de facto ban on termination fees – also referred to as a “zero-price” rule (Hemphill, 2008) – which forbids an Internet service provider from charging an additional fee to a content provider who wishes to reach that ISP’s customers. The question is whether this zero-pricing structure should be preserved, or whether carriers should be allowed to charge termination fees and engage in other practices that have the effect of requiring payment to reach users. This paper begins with a defense of the de facto zero-price rule currently in existence. We point out that the ...


Tolerated Use, Tim Wu Jan 2008

Tolerated Use, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

Tolerated use is a term that refers to the contemporary spread of technically infringing, but nonetheless tolerated use of copyrighted works. Such patterns of mass infringement have occurred before in copyright history, though perhaps not on the same scale, and have usually been settled with the use of special laws, called compulsory licensing regimes, more familiar to non-copyright scholars as liability rules. This paper suggests that, in present times, a different and slightly unusual solution to the issue of widespread illegal use is emerging – an opt-in system for copyright holders, that is in property terms a rare species of ex ...


On Copyright's Authorship Policy, Tim Wu Jan 2007

On Copyright's Authorship Policy, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

It has long been the stated aspiration of copyright to make authors the masters of their own destiny. Yet more often than not, the real subject of American copyright is distributors, book publishers, record labels, broadcasters, and others, who control the rights, bring the lawsuits, and take copyright as their industries' 'life-sustaining protection.' This paper offers a new theory and defense of the role of authors and authorial copyright in the copyright system. I argue that the device of making authors rights-bearers can seed new modes of production in the industries under copyright. Rights-bearing authors can, in other words, help ...


Inducers And Authorisers: A Comparison Of The Us Supreme Court's Grokster Decision And The Australian Federal Court's Kazaa Ruling, Jane C. Ginsburg, Sam Ricketson Jan 2006

Inducers And Authorisers: A Comparison Of The Us Supreme Court's Grokster Decision And The Australian Federal Court's Kazaa Ruling, Jane C. Ginsburg, Sam Ricketson

Faculty Scholarship

On June 27, 2005, the US Supreme Court announced its much-awaited decision in MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster Ltd. A few months after this, the Federal Court of Australia handed down its decision at first instance in relation to parallel litigation in that country concerning the KaZaa file sharing system. Both decisions repay careful consideration of the way in which the respective courts have addressed the relationship between the protection of authors' rights and the advent of new technologies, particularly in relation to peer-to-peer networks.

In the Grokster case, songwriters, record producers and motion picture producers alleged that two popular ...


Do Patents Facilitate Financing In The Software Industry?, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2005

Do Patents Facilitate Financing In The Software Industry?, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

This paper is the first part of a wide-ranging study of the role of intellectual property in the software industry. Unlike previous papers that focus primarily on software patents – which generally are held by firms that are not software firms – this Article provides a thorough and contextually grounded description of the role that patents play in the software industry itself.

The bulk of the Article considers the pros and cons of patents in the software industry. The Article starts by emphasizing the difficulties that prerevenue startups face in obtaining any value from patents. Litigation to enforce patents is impractical for ...