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Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2018

Intellectual Property Law

University of Michigan Law School

Property rights

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Full-Text Articles in Law

What We Don't See When We See Copyright As Property, Jessica Litman Nov 2018

What We Don't See When We See Copyright As Property, Jessica Litman

Articles

For all of the rhetoric about the central place of authors in the copyright scheme, our copyright laws in fact give them little power and less money. Intermediaries own the copyrights, and are able to structure licenses so as to maximise their own revenue while shrinking their pay-outs to authors. Copyright scholars have tended to treat this point superficially, because – as lawyers – we take for granted that copyrights are property; property rights are freely alienable; and the grantee of a property right stands in the shoes of the original holder. I compare the 1710 Statute of Anne, which …


What We Don't See When We See Copyright As Property, Jessica Litman May 2018

What We Don't See When We See Copyright As Property, Jessica Litman

Law & Economics Working Papers

It is becoming increasingly clear that the supposed copyright wars that copyright scholars believed we were fighting – nominally pitting the interests of authors and creators against the interests of readers and other members of the audience – were never really about that at all. Instead the real conflict has been between the publishers, record labels, movie studios, and other intermediaries who rose to market dominance in the 20th century, and the digital services and platforms that have become increasingly powerful copyright players in the 21st. In this essay, adapted from the 13th annual University of Cambridge Center for Intellectual …