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Full-Text Articles in Law

Abandoning Copyright, Dave Fagundes, Aaron K. Perzanowski Jan 2020

Abandoning Copyright, Dave Fagundes, Aaron K. Perzanowski

Faculty Publications

For nearly two hundred years, U.S. copyright law has assumed that owners may voluntarily abandon their rights in a work. But scholars have largely ignored copyright abandonment, and the case law is fragmented and inconsistent. As a result, abandonment remains poorly theorized, owners can avail themselves of no reliable mechanism to abandon their works, and the practice remains rare. This Article seeks to bring copyright abandonment out of the shadows, showing that it is a doctrine rich in conceptual, normative, and practical significance. Unlike abandonment of real and chattel property, which imposes significant public costs in exchange for discrete ...


Patent Law’S Purposeful Ambiguity, Craig Allen Nard Jan 2020

Patent Law’S Purposeful Ambiguity, Craig Allen Nard

Faculty Publications

The ambiguity of language is an unremarkable, yet persistent force within our legal system. In the context of patent law, ambiguity presents a particularly acute dilemma; namely, while describing technological innovations is a salient feature of the patent system, affecting the validity and scope of one’s property right, the blunt nature of language makes this task particularly difficult. This paper argues to address this vexing fixture, patent doctrine purposely embraces ambiguity as a linguistic accommodation that provides measured flexibility for actors to claim and describe their innovations. It should not be surprising, therefore, that some of patent law’s ...


Clown Eggs, David Fagundes, Aaron K. Perzanowski Jan 2019

Clown Eggs, David Fagundes, Aaron K. Perzanowski

Faculty Publications

Since 1946, many clowns have recorded their makeup by having it painted on eggs that are kept in a central registry in Wookey Hole, England. This tradition, which continues today, has been referred to alternately as a form of informal copyright registration and a means of protecting clowns’ property in their personae. This Article explores the Clown Egg Register and its sur- rounding practices from the perspective of law and social norms. In so doing, it makes several contributions. First, it contributes another chapter to the growing literature on the norms-based governance of intellectual property, showing how clowns—like comedians ...


The Tethered Economy, Aaron K. Perzanowski, Chris Jay Hoofnagle, Aniket Kesari Jan 2019

The Tethered Economy, Aaron K. Perzanowski, Chris Jay Hoofnagle, Aniket Kesari

Faculty Publications

Imagine a future in which every purchase decision is as complex as choosing a mobile phone. What will ongoing service cost? Is it compatible with other devices you use? Can you move data and applications across de- vices? Can you switch providers? These are just some of the questions one must consider when a product is “tethered” or persistently linked to the seller. The Internet of Things, but more broadly, consumer products with embedded software, are already tethered. While tethered products bring the benefits of connection, they also carry its pathologies. As sellers blend hardware and software—as well as ...


The Limits Of Copyright Office Expertise, Aaron K. Perzanowski Jan 2018

The Limits Of Copyright Office Expertise, Aaron K. Perzanowski

Faculty Publications

The mismatch between the expanding administrative and regulatory obligations of the United States Copyright Office and its limited institutional expertise is an emerging problem for the copyright system. The Office’s chief responsibility—registration and recordation of copyright claims—has taken a back seat in recent years to a more ambitious set of substantive rulemakings and policy recommendations. As the triennial rulemaking under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act highlights, the Office is frequently called upon to answer technological questions far beyond its plausible claims of subject matter expertise. This Article traces the Office’s history, identifies its substantial but discrete ...


The First Amendment Implications Of Copyright's Double Standard, Raymond Shih Ray Ku Jan 2018

The First Amendment Implications Of Copyright's Double Standard, Raymond Shih Ray Ku

Faculty Publications

Beginning with a simple question, “What’s the big deal? It’s just entertainment,” this Article argues that copyright law restricts more than just entertainment - it restricts freedom of artistic expression. Despite copyright’s facial neutrality, courts have interpreted otherwise neutral rules to subject authors to a double standard for expression. Through a series of doctrinal contradictions and hypocrisies, copyright singles out “just entertainment,” imposing greater restrictions upon the freedom of those authors relative to all other authors. By discriminating against “entertainment,” the current doctrine violates its own fundamental tenet of non-discrimination. Moreover, by selectively restricting how authors may choose ...


What We Buy When We "Buy Now", Aaron K. Perzanowski, Chris Jay Hoofnagle Jan 2017

What We Buy When We "Buy Now", Aaron K. Perzanowski, Chris Jay Hoofnagle

Faculty Publications

Retailers such as Apple and Amazon market digital media to consumers using the familiar language of product ownership, including phrases like “buy now,” “own,” and “purchase.” Consumers may understandably associate such language with strong personal property rights. But the license agreements and terms of use associated with these transactions tell a different story. They explain that ebooks, mp3 albums, digital movies, games, and software are not sold, but merely licensed. The terms limit consumers' ability to resell, lend, transfer, and even retain possession of the digital media they acquire. Moreover, unlike physical media products, access to digital media is contingent ...


The Interaction Of Exhaustion And The General Law, Aaron K. Perzanowski, Ariel Katz, Guy A. Rub Jan 2016

The Interaction Of Exhaustion And The General Law, Aaron K. Perzanowski, Ariel Katz, Guy A. Rub

Faculty Publications

In Statutory Domain and the Commercial Law of Intellectual Property, John Duffy and Richard Hynes argue that IP exhaustion — the doctrine that limits a patentee’s or copyright holder’s control over goods in the stream of commerce — was created and functions exclusively to confine IP law within its own domain and prevent it from displacing other laws.

In this essay, we explain why we are not persuaded. A central theme in Duffy and Haynes work is the argument that the common law did not play a role in the emergence and development of exhaustion. However, we show that the ...


Legal Fictions And The Role Of Information In Patent Law, Craig Allen Nard Jan 2016

Legal Fictions And The Role Of Information In Patent Law, Craig Allen Nard

Faculty Publications

The common law plays a prominent role in the development of American patent law. Judicial stewardship of the patent space can be seen as an institutional advantage, one that compares favorably to punctuated, and potentially more distortive or inartful, congressional action. The common law allows for a certain flexibility, and despite its deep allegiance to tradition, crust forms more readily on statutory law than the common law. One of the tools that reflects this institutional litheness is the use of legal fictions, which have been employed by judges in various areas of the law seemingly since the beginning of the ...


Tattoos & Ip Norms, Aaron K. Perzanowski Jan 2013

Tattoos & Ip Norms, Aaron K. Perzanowski

Faculty Publications

The U.S. tattoo industry generates billions of dollars in annual revenue. Like the music, film, and publishing industries, it derives value from the creation of new, original works of authorship. But unlike rights holders in those more traditional creative industries, tattoo artists rarely assert formal legal rights in disputes over copying or ownership of the works they create. Instead, tattooing is governed by a set of nuanced, overlapping, and occasionally contradictory social norms enforced through informal sanctions. And in contrast to other creative communities that rely on social norms because of the unavailability of formal intellectual property protection, the ...


In Defense Of Intellectual Property Anxiety, Aaron K. Perzanowski Jan 2010

In Defense Of Intellectual Property Anxiety, Aaron K. Perzanowski

Faculty Publications

In this Response to Professor Fagundes’s "Property Rhetoric and the Public Domain," Professor Perzanowski expresses skepticism about two assumptions underlying the argument for embracing property rhetoric to promote the public domain. This argument assumes, first, public recognition of social discourse theory as an account of property and, second, rhetorical advantages of social discourse theory that are comparable to those of more familiar notions of private property. Perzanowski concludes that the simple intuitive appeal of Blackstonian property cautions against styling the struggle for balanced copyright and patent policy as a debate over competing property interests.


Fixing Ram Copies, Aaron K. Perzanowski Jan 2010

Fixing Ram Copies, Aaron K. Perzanowski

Faculty Publications

Scholars, litigants, and courts have debated the status of so-called “RAM copies” - instantiations of copyrighted works in the random access memory of computing devices - for decades. The Second Circuit’s decision in Cartoon Network v. CSC Holdings has recently reignited the controversy over these putative copies. There the court held that CSC did not create copies within the meaning of the Copyright Act when it buffered fleeting segments of television programs. In many respects, the Second Circuit’s holding is a straightforward application of the Act’s nested definitions of “copies” and “fixed.” But because the court declined to apply ...


Legal Forms And The Common Law Of Patents, Craig Allen Nard Jan 2010

Legal Forms And The Common Law Of Patents, Craig Allen Nard

Faculty Publications

The question of institutional choice is important in all areas of the law, but particularly in the context of patent law with its divergent stakeholders, decentralized variance among industries regarding how the patent system is viewed and relied upon, and a persistent focus on reform in recent years. For over two hundred years, the courts have been the dominant force in the development of patent law. It should therefore come as no surprise to learn that a significant portion of American patent law, including some of the most important and controversial patent law doctrines, is either built upon judicial interpretation ...


Rethinking Anticircumvention's Interoperability Policy, Aaron K. Perzanowski Jan 2009

Rethinking Anticircumvention's Interoperability Policy, Aaron K. Perzanowski

Faculty Publications

Interoperability is widely touted for its ability to spur incremental innovation, increase competition and consumer choice, and decrease barriers to accessibility. In light of these attributes, intellectual property law generally permits follow-on innovators to create products that interoperate with existing systems, even without permission. The anticircumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") represent a troubling departure from this policy, resulting in patent-like rights to exclude technologies that interoperate with protected platforms. Although the DMCA contains internal safeguards to preserve interoperability, judicial misinterpretation and narrow statutory text render those safeguards largely ineffective.

One approach to counteracting the DMCA's ...


F(R)Ee Expression: Reconciling Copyright & The First Amendment, Raymond Shih Ray Ku Jan 2007

F(R)Ee Expression: Reconciling Copyright & The First Amendment, Raymond Shih Ray Ku

Faculty Publications

This essay explores the relationship between copyright and free speech by critically evaluating the proposition that conflicts between the two can be eliminated because the Framers intended both to be engines for free expression. My purpose is not to set forth a comprehensive theory of copyright and free speech, but is more modest. This essay argues that while useful, reference to the Framers' intent only goes so far in avoiding conflicts between copyright and free speech, and when viewed outside of the facts presented by Harper & Row and Eldred, reliance upon the Framers' intent arguably increases such conflicts. Moreover, this ...


Promoting Diverse Cultural Expression: Lessons From The U.S. Copyright Wars, Raymond Shih Ray Ku Jan 2007

Promoting Diverse Cultural Expression: Lessons From The U.S. Copyright Wars, Raymond Shih Ray Ku

Faculty Publications

In 2007, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression (CCD) with the goal of creating an environment that encourages individuals and social groups to create, distribute, and have access to diverse cultural expression from their own cultural and from cultures around the world. With regard to domestic and international efforts to implement the CCD and reconcile its goals with other international norms, the author argues that valuable lessons can be learned from current trends and issues in U.S. copyright law. Specifically, the author argues that the current debate over ...


The Tragedy Of Trips, Peter M. Gerhart Jan 2007

The Tragedy Of Trips, Peter M. Gerhart

Faculty Publications

This Article argues that sound intellectual property policy requires not only that the policymaker establish an appropriate incentive for invention but also that the policymaker determine how the cost of that incentive should be distributed across various classes of consumers. It is the distributive dimension of intellectual property policy that makes existing international institutions such an unsound mechanism for determining global rules for intellectual policy--the policymakers are simply not able to make the appropriate kinds of decisions. I suggest some ways in which institutional structures can be modified to achieve a better balance.


Rethinking Patent Law’S Uniformity Principle, Craig Allen Nard, John F. Duffy Jan 2007

Rethinking Patent Law’S Uniformity Principle, Craig Allen Nard, John F. Duffy

Faculty Publications

Modern law on expert testimony insists, as a condition of admissibility, that the asserted expertise be determined by the trial judge to be reliable. Reliability is usually characterized as a dichotomous attribute of evidence, as if expertise were either reliable or unreliable. This article argues that making progress in the development of meaningful and appropriate restrictions on the admissibility of expert testimony requires that we abandon this conceptualization and understand the implications of endorsing a gradational notion of reliability in which evidence can be more or less reliable and in which a comparative assessment of reliability is prominent. Consistent with ...


The Penumbral Public Domain: Constitutional Limits On Quasi-Copyright Legislation, Aaron K. Perzanowski Jan 2006

The Penumbral Public Domain: Constitutional Limits On Quasi-Copyright Legislation, Aaron K. Perzanowski

Faculty Publications

This Article attempts to reconcile the breadth of the modern Commerce Clause with the notion of meaningful and enforceable limits on Congress' copyright authority under Article I, Section 8, Clause 8.

The Article aims to achieve two objectives. First, it seeks to outline a general approach to identifying and resolving inter-clause conflicts, sketching a methodology that has been lacking in the courts' sparse treatment of such conflicts. Second, it applies that general framework to the copyright power in order to outline the scope of constitutional prohibitions against quasi-copyright protections. In particular, this application focuses on the federal anti-bootlegging statutes and ...


The Magnificence Of The Disaster: Reconstructing The Sony Bmg Rootkit Incident, Deirdre Mulligan, Aaron K. Perzanowski Jan 2006

The Magnificence Of The Disaster: Reconstructing The Sony Bmg Rootkit Incident, Deirdre Mulligan, Aaron K. Perzanowski

Faculty Publications

Late in 2005, Sony BMG released millions of Compact Discs containing digital rights management technologies that threatened the security of its customers' computers and the integrity of the information infrastructure more broadly. This Article aims to identify the market, technological, and legal factors that appear to have led a presumably rational actor toward a strategy that in retrospect appears obviously and fundamentally misguided.

The Article first addresses the market-based rationales that likely influenced Sony BMG's deployment of these DRM systems and reveals that even the most charitable interpretation of Sony BMG's internal strategizing demonstrates a failure to adequately ...


Copyright Lochnerism, Raymond Shih Ray Ku Jan 2006

Copyright Lochnerism, Raymond Shih Ray Ku

Faculty Publications

Part I of this essay outlines the conflict between copyright and the First amendment as well as, the complementary argument for reconciling copyright and free speech, as it has been formulated by scholars and the Supreme Court. Part II discusses what I have referred to as the Framers' copyright and the extent to which arguments based upon the Framers' intent in this area may reconcile copyright and free speech. Lastly, Part III argues that reliance upon the complementary argument to deny any role for heightened First Amendment review in copyright cases is subject to two interrelated criticisms of Lochner. By ...


Constitutionalizing Patents: From Venice To Philadelphia, Craig Allen Nard, Andrew P. Morriss Jan 2006

Constitutionalizing Patents: From Venice To Philadelphia, Craig Allen Nard, Andrew P. Morriss

Faculty Publications

Patent law today is a complex institution in most developed economies and the appropriate structure for patent law is hotly debated around the world. Despite their differences, one crucial feature is shared by the diverse patent systems of the industrialized world even before the recent trend toward harmonization: modern patent regimes include self-imposed restrictions of executive and legislative discretion, which we refer to as "constitutionalized" systems. Given the lucrative nature of patent monopolies, the long history of granting patents as a form of patronage, and the aggressive pursuit of patronage in most societies, the choice to confine patents within a ...


Invention, Refinement And Patent Claim Scope: A New Perspective On The Doctrine Of Equivalents, Craig Allen Nard Jan 2005

Invention, Refinement And Patent Claim Scope: A New Perspective On The Doctrine Of Equivalents, Craig Allen Nard

Faculty Publications

The doctrine of equivalents (DOE) allows courts to expand the scope of patent rights granted by the Patent Office. The doctrine has been justified on fairness grounds, but it lacks a convincing economic justification. The standard economic justification holds that certain frictions block patent applicants from literally claiming appropriately broad rights, and thus, the DOE is available at trial to expand patent scope and overcome these frictions. The friction theory suffers from three main weaknesses. First, the theory is implausible on empirical grounds. Frictions such as limits of language, mistake, and unforeseeability are missing from the leading cases. Second, there ...


Introduction: The Law, Technology & The Arts Symposium: The Past, Present And Future Of The Federal Circuit, Craig Allen Nard Jan 2004

Introduction: The Law, Technology & The Arts Symposium: The Past, Present And Future Of The Federal Circuit, Craig Allen Nard

Faculty Publications

Introduction to The Law, Technology & the Arts Symposium: The Past, Present and Future of the Federal Circuit, Cleveland, Ohio.


Introduction: The Triangulation Of International Intellectual Property Law: Cooperation, Power, And Normative Welfare, Peter M. Gerhart Jan 2004

Introduction: The Triangulation Of International Intellectual Property Law: Cooperation, Power, And Normative Welfare, Peter M. Gerhart

Faculty Publications

Introduction to the symposium "The Future of International Intellectual Property: The International Relations of Intellectual Property Law," Cleveland, Ohio March 26,2004.


Introduction: The Law, Technology & The Arts Symposium: Copyright In The Digital Age: Reflection On Tasini And Beyond, Craig Allen Nard Jan 2003

Introduction: The Law, Technology & The Arts Symposium: Copyright In The Digital Age: Reflection On Tasini And Beyond, Craig Allen Nard

Faculty Publications

Introduction tp The Law, Technology & The Arts Symposium: Copyright in the Digital Age: Reflection on Tasini and Beyond, Cleveland, Ohio.


Consumers & Creative Destruction: Fair Use Beyond Market Failure, Raymond Shih Ray Ku Jan 2003

Consumers & Creative Destruction: Fair Use Beyond Market Failure, Raymond Shih Ray Ku

Faculty Publications

For almost twenty years, the concept of market failure has defined the boundaries of fair use under copyright law. In this article Professor Ku challenges this interpretation of fair use by offering an alternative economic interpretation of the doctrine. This Article argues fair use is justified when consumer copying creatively destroys the need for copy- right's exclusive rights in reproduction and distribution. This occurs when: 1) the consumer of a work makes copies of it, and 2) creation of the work does not depend upon funding derived from the sale of copies. Under these circumstances, exclusive rights in reproduction ...


In Defense Of Geographic Disparity, Craig Allen Nard Jan 2003

In Defense Of Geographic Disparity, Craig Allen Nard

Faculty Publications

A response to Margo A. Bagley, Patently Unconstitutional: The Geographical Limitation on Prior Art in a Small World, 87 Minn. L. Rev. 679 (2003).


Toward A Cautious Approach To Obeisance: The Role Of Scholarship In Patent Law Jurisprudence, Craig Allen Nard Jan 2002

Toward A Cautious Approach To Obeisance: The Role Of Scholarship In Patent Law Jurisprudence, Craig Allen Nard

Faculty Publications

This article explores the role of secondary authority in patent law jurisprudence. I reviewed every Federal Circuit published opinion from 1982 (the year of the court's creation) to 2000. I discuss the results of my empirical research and explore why scholarship has a place in the Federal Circuit's patent law jurisprudence. I ultimately urge the court to be cautiously more receptive to secondary authority when deciding patent cases.


Process Considerations In The Age Of Markman And Mantras, Craig Allen Nard Jan 2001

Process Considerations In The Age Of Markman And Mantras, Craig Allen Nard

Faculty Publications

This article asserts that although notions of uniformity and certainty have always been part of patent law parlance, since the Federal Circuit's decision in Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., these noble ends have achieved mantra status. In Markman, the Federal Circuit, in the name of uniformity and certainty, characterized claim interpretation as a question of law subject to de novo review, thus positioning itself as the arbiter of claim meaning. If the Federal Circuit is unwilling to exercise greater obeisance toward district court claim interpretations, this article argues that to achieve uniformity and certainty in the context of de ...