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Intellectual Property Law

Harvard Law Review

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Of Autonomy, Sacred Rights, And Personal Marks, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Jan 2022

Of Autonomy, Sacred Rights, And Personal Marks, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

Faculty Scholarship

This Response examines three different senses in which the idea of autonomy might operate within trademark law’s rules relating to personal marks (i.e., marks that identity an individual) and shows that each of them is critically incomplete or too weak to independently sustain the justificatory burden for the domain. It then examines the worrisome possibility that courts’ allusions to autonomy here are little more than a trope for other considerations. It finally looks at how a genuine commitment to autonomy might be integrated into the principally market-driven framework of trademark law.


Legal Internalism In Modern Histories Of Copyright, Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Taisu Zhang Jan 2021

Legal Internalism In Modern Histories Of Copyright, Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Taisu Zhang

Faculty Scholarship

Legal internalism refers to the internal point of view that professional participants in a legal practice develop toward it. It represents a behavioral phenomenon wherein such participants treat the domain of law (or a subset of it) as normative, epistemologically self-contained, and logically coherent on its own terms regardless of whether the law actually embodies those characteristics. Thus understood, legal internalism remains an important characteristic of all modern legal systems. In this Review, we examine three recent interdisciplinary histories of copyright law to showcase the working of legal internalism. We argue that while their interdisciplinary emphasis adds to the conversation …


Shallow Signals, Bert I. Huang Jan 2013

Shallow Signals, Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

Whether in dodging taxes, violating copyrights, misstating corporate earnings, or just jaywalking, we often follow the lead of others in our choices to obey or to flout the law. Seeing others act illegally, we gather that a rule is weakly enforced or that its penalty is not serious. But we may be imitating by mistake: what others are doing might not be illegal – for them.

Whenever the law quietly permits some actors to act in a way that is usually forbidden, copycat misconduct may be erroneously inspired by the false appearance that "others are doing it too." The use …


The Obligatory Structure Of Copyright Law: Unbundling The Wrong Of Copying, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Jan 2012

The Obligatory Structure Of Copyright Law: Unbundling The Wrong Of Copying, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

Faculty Scholarship

Courts and scholars today understand and discuss the institution of copyright in wholly instrumental terms. Indeed, given the forms of analysis that they routinely employ, one might be forgiven for thinking that copyright is nothing more than a comprehensive government-administered scheme for encouraging the production of creative expression and is therefore quite legitimately the subject matter of public law. While this instrumental focus may have the beneficial effect of limiting copyright’s unending expansion, it also serves as a source of distraction. It directs attention away from the reality that copyright is fundamentally a creation of the law and is thus …


Foreseeability And Copyright Incentives, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Jan 2009

Foreseeability And Copyright Incentives, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

Faculty Scholarship

Copyright law’s principal justification today is the economic theory of creator incentives. Central to this theory is the recognition that while copyright’s exclusive rights framework provides creators with an economic incentive to create, it also entails large social costs, and that creators therefore need to be given just enough incentive to create in order to balance the system’s benefits against its costs. Yet, none of copyright’s current doctrines enable courts to circumscribe a creator’s entitlement by reference to limitations inherent in the very idea of incentives. While the common law too relies on providing actors with incentives to behave in …


Deterrence And Distribution In The Law Of Takings, Michael A. Heller, James E. Krier Jan 1999

Deterrence And Distribution In The Law Of Takings, Michael A. Heller, James E. Krier

Faculty Scholarship

Supreme Court decisions over the last three-quarters of a century have turned the words of the Takings Clause into a secret code that only a momentary majority of the Court is able to understand. The Justices faithfully moor their opinions to the particular terms of the Fifth Amendment, but only by stretching the text beyond recognition. A better approach is to consider the purposes of the Takings Clause, efficiency and justice, and go anew from there. Such a method reveals that in some cases there are good reasons to require payment by the government when it regulates property, but not …


The Tragedy Of The Anticommons: Property In The Transition From Marx To Markets, Michael A. Heller Jan 1998

The Tragedy Of The Anticommons: Property In The Transition From Marx To Markets, Michael A. Heller

Faculty Scholarship

Why are many storefronts in Moscow empty, while street kiosks in front are full of goods? In this Article, Professor Heller develops a theory of anticommons property to help explain the puzzle of empty storefronts and full kiosks. Anticommons property can be understood as the mirror image of commons property. By definition, in a commons, multiple owners are each endowed with the privilege to use a given resource, and no one has the right to exclude another When too many owners hold such privileges of use, the resource is prone to overuse – a tragedy of the commons. Depleted fisheries …