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Pushing Back On Stricter Copyright Isp Liability Rules, Pamela Samuelson Apr 2021

Pushing Back On Stricter Copyright Isp Liability Rules, Pamela Samuelson

Michigan Technology Law Review

For more than two decades, internet service providers (ISPs) in the United States, the European Union (EU), and many other countries have been shielded from copyright liability under “safe harbor” rules. These rules apply to ISPs who did not know about or participate in user-uploaded infringements and who take infringing content down after receiving notice from rights holders. Major copyright industry groups were never satisfied with these safe harbors, and their dissatisfaction has become more strident over time as online infringements have grown to scale.

Responding to copyright industry complaints, the EU in 2019 adopted its Directive on Copyright and …


Imaginary Bottles, Jessica Litman Aug 2019

Imaginary Bottles, Jessica Litman

Articles

This essay, written for a symposium commemorating John Perry Barlow, who died on February 7, 2018, revisits Barlow's 1994 essay for WIRED magazine, "The Economy of Ideas: A Framework for patents and copyrights in the Digital Age (everything you know about intellectual property is wrong)." Barlow observed that networked digital technology posed massive and fundamental challenges for the markets for what Barlow termed “the work we do with our minds” and for the intellectual property laws designed to shape those markets. He predicted that those challenges would melt extant intellectual property systems into a smoking heap within a decade, and …


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 …


Symbols, Systems, And Software As Intellectual Property: Time For Contu, Part Ii?, Timothy K. Armstrong May 2018

Symbols, Systems, And Software As Intellectual Property: Time For Contu, Part Ii?, Timothy K. Armstrong

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

The functional nature of computer software underlies two propositions that were, until recently, fairly well settled in intellectual property law: first, that software, like other utilitarian articles, may qualify for patent protection; and second, that the scope of copyright protection for software is comparatively limited. Both propositions have become considerably shakier as a result of recent court decisions. Following Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014), the lower courts have invalidated many software patents as unprotectable subject matter. Meanwhile, Oracle America v. Google Inc., 750 F.3d 1339 (Fed. Cir. 2014) extended far more expansive copyright protection …


Why The Copyright Act Expressly Preempts State-Level Public Performance Rights In Pre-1972 Recordings, James Fahringer May 2018

Why The Copyright Act Expressly Preempts State-Level Public Performance Rights In Pre-1972 Recordings, James Fahringer

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Over the past several years, two former bandmates in the 1960s rock group, The Turtles, have initiated several lawsuits against the popular music streaming services, Pandora and Sirius XM, arguing that the band owns common law copyrights in the sound recordings of its songs, and that these state-level copyrights grant the band an exclusive public performance right in its sound recordings. If accepted, this argument has the potential to significantly distort federal copyright policy because states would not be constrained by any of the balancing features of the Copyright Act, including Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) safe harbors for Internet …


Paypal Is New Money: Extending Secondary Copyright Liability Safe Harbors To Online Payment Processors, Erika Douglas Nov 2017

Paypal Is New Money: Extending Secondary Copyright Liability Safe Harbors To Online Payment Processors, Erika Douglas

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has shaped the Internet as we know it. This legislation shields online service providers from secondary copyright infringement liability in exchange for takedown of infringing content of their users. Yet online payment processors, the backbone of $300 billion in U.S. e-commerce, are completely outside of the DMCA’s protection. This Article uses PayPal, the most popular online payment company in the U.S., to illustrate the growing risk of secondary liability for payment processors. First it looks at jurisprudence that expands secondary copyright liability online, and explains how it might be applied to PayPal. Then it …


Fetishizing Copies, Jessica Litman Jan 2017

Fetishizing Copies, Jessica Litman

Book Chapters

Our copyright laws encourage authors to create new works and communicate them to the public, because we hope that people will read the books, listen to the music, see the art, watch the films, run the software, and build and inhabit the buildings. That is the way that copyright promotes the Progress of Science. Recently, that not-very-controversial principle has collided with copyright owners’ conviction that they should be able to control, or at least collect royalties from, all uses of their works. A particularly ill-considered manifestation of this conviction is what I have decided to call copy-fetish. This is the …


Silent Similarity, Jessica D. Litman Apr 2015

Silent Similarity, Jessica D. Litman

Articles

From 1909 to 1930, U.S. courts grappled with claims by authors of prose works claiming that works in a new art form—silent movies—had infringed their copyrights. These cases laid the groundwork for much of modern copyright law, from their broad expansion of the reproduction right, to their puzzled grappling with the question how to compare works in dissimilar media, to their confusion over what sort of evidence should be relevant to show copyrightability, copying and infringement. Some of those cases—in particular, Nichols v. Universal Pictures—are canonical today. They are not, however, well-understood. In particular, the problem at the heart of …


Campbell At 21/Sony At 31, Jessica D. Litman Jan 2015

Campbell At 21/Sony At 31, Jessica D. Litman

Articles

When copyright lawyers gather to discuss fair use, the most common refrain is its alarming expansion. Their distress about fair use’s enlarged footprint seems completely untethered from any appreciation of the remarkable increase in exclusive copyright rights. In the nearly forty years since Congress enacted the 1976 copyright act, the rights of copyright owners have expanded markedly. Copyright owners’ demands for further expansion continue unabated. Meanwhile, they raise strident objections to proposals to add new privileges and exceptions to the statute to shelter non-infringing uses that might be implicated by their expanded rights. Copyright owners have used the resulting uncertainty …


A Material World: Using Trademark Law To Override Copyright's First Sale Rule For Imported Copies, Mary Lafrance Jan 2014

A Material World: Using Trademark Law To Override Copyright's First Sale Rule For Imported Copies, Mary Lafrance

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

When the Supreme Court held that the first sale rule of copyright law permits the unauthorized importation and domestic sale of lawfully made copies of copyrighted works, regardless of where those copies were made, copyright owners lost much of their ability to engage in territorial price discrimination. Publishers, film and record producers, and software and videogame makers could no longer use copyright law to prevent the importation and domestic resale of gray market copies, and therefore could no longer protect their domestic distributors against competition from cheaper imported copies. However, many of these copyright owners can take advantage of a …


Argh, Matey! The Faux-Pas Of The Sopa (Stop Online Piracy Act), Anna S. Han Jan 2012

Argh, Matey! The Faux-Pas Of The Sopa (Stop Online Piracy Act), Anna S. Han

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform Caveat

Earlier, I posted about a network neutrality case, Verizon v. FCC, which could have far-reaching consequences for the Internet industry. Another concerted attempt to regulate the Internet, disguised in the form of a piracy protection bill, recently came before the House Judiciary Committee and garnered widespread disapproval. Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of twelve co-sponsors introduced the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (“SOPA”) on October 26, 2011, which punishes websites that are accused of facilitating copyright infringement. Although touted by its supporters as a weapon against foreign sites that steal and sell American inventions, SOPA is problematic because …


Using Public Disclosure As The Vesting Point For Moral Rights Under The Visual Artists Rights Act, Elizabeth M. Bock Oct 2011

Using Public Disclosure As The Vesting Point For Moral Rights Under The Visual Artists Rights Act, Elizabeth M. Bock

Michigan Law Review

In 2010, the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit confronted the novel question of when moral rights protections vest under the Visual Artists Rights Act. In Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art Foundation, Inc. v. Bichel, the First Circuit determined that the protections of the Visual Artists Rights Act begin when a work is "created" under the Copyright Act. This Note argues that this decision harms moral rights conceptually and is likely to result in unpredictable and inconsistent decisions. This Note proposes instead that these statutory protections should vest when an artist determines that his work is complete and presents …


Hatch-Waxmanizing Copyright, Michal Shur-Ofry Jan 2011

Hatch-Waxmanizing Copyright, Michal Shur-Ofry

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

This Essay presents a novel proposal for counter balancing "copyright overspills." In the background of the discussion is the common reality of users succumbing to rights holders' attempts to license uses which are most likely fair uses or completely free of copyright protection. These practices have attracted considerable attention in recent literature. Most scholarly proposals in this context emphasize the need to clarify the contours of the fair use doctrine and to remove doctrinal ambiguities. Yet these initiatives are probably insufficient to overcome users' risk aversion in copyright markets due to an inherent structural imbalance within copyright law. While the …


Paper Tigers: Rethinking The Relationship Between Copyright And Scholarly Publishing, Alissa Centivany Jan 2011

Paper Tigers: Rethinking The Relationship Between Copyright And Scholarly Publishing, Alissa Centivany

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Discontent is growing in academia over the practices of the proprietary scholarly publishing industry. Scholars and universities criticize the expensive subscription fees, restrictive access policies, and copyright assignment requirements of many journals. These practices seem fundamentally unfair given that the industries' two main inputs-articles and peer-review-are provided to it free of charge. Furthermore, while many publishers continue to enjoy substantial profit margins, many elite university libraries have been forced to triage their collections, choosing between purchasing monographs or subscribing to journals, or in some cases, doing away with "non-essential" materials altogether. The situation is even more dire for non-elite schools, …


Readers' Copyright, Jessica D. Litman Jan 2011

Readers' Copyright, Jessica D. Litman

Articles

My goal in this project is to reclaim copyright for readers (and listeners, viewers, and other members of the audience). I think, and will try to persuade you, that the gradual and relatively recent disappearance of readers’ interests from the core of copyright’s perceived goals has unbalanced the copyright system. It may have prompted, at least in part, the scholarly critique of copyright that has fueled copyright lawyers’ impression that “so many in academia side with the pirates.” It may also be responsible for much of the deterioration in public support for copyright. I argue here that copyright seems out …


Real Copyright Reform, Jessica D. Litman Jan 2010

Real Copyright Reform, Jessica D. Litman

Articles

A copyright system is designed to produce an ecology that nurtures the creation, dissemination, and enjoyment of works of authorship. When it works well, it encourages creators to generate new works, assists intermediaries in disseminating them widely, and supports readers, listeners, and viewers in enjoying them. If the system poses difficult entry barriers to creators, imposes demanding impediments on intermediaries, or inflicts burdensome conditions and hurdles on readers, then the system fails to achieve at least some of its purposes. The current U.S. copyright statute is flawed in all three respects. In this Article, I explore how the current copyright …


The Copyright Revision Act Of 2026, Jessica D. Litman Jan 2009

The Copyright Revision Act Of 2026, Jessica D. Litman

Articles

As someone who teaches and writes about copyright law, I end up straddling two different worlds. On the one hand, I really do need to understand and be able to teach the details of the copyright statute and the case law construing it. My students need to know the difference between a public performance right under Section 106(4) and a public performance right by digital audio transmission under Section 106(6); they need to know the difference between the statutory licenses available under Section 114 and the statutory licenses available under Section 115.' So, I need to have all of those …


Choosing Metaphors, Jessica Litman Jan 2008

Choosing Metaphors, Jessica Litman

Book Chapters

The copyright law on the books is a large aggregation of specific statutory provisions; it goes on and on for pages and pages. When most people talk about copyright, though, they don't mean the long complicated statute codified in title I7 of the U.S. Code. Most people's idea of copyright law takes the form of a collection of principles and norms. They understand that those principles are expressed, if sometimes imperfectly, in the statutory language and the case law interpreting it, but they tend to believe that the underlying principles are what count. It is, thus, unsurprising that the rhetoric …


Protecting Fair Use With Fogerty: Toward A New Dual Standard, John A. Fonstad May 2007

Protecting Fair Use With Fogerty: Toward A New Dual Standard, John A. Fonstad

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Copyright law exists to promote the progress of art and science. It achieves this by balancing limited grants of rights to authors against public access to works. However, copyright holders have upset this balance and tilted the law in their favor One cause of this phenomenon is that the benefit of public access to works is diffused throughout the entire public while the benefit of rights in works is concentrated in the copyright holder. This problem is especially prevalent in the context of litigation where copyright holders (plaintiffs) often stand to gain more through victory than copyright users (defendants). As …


Lawful Personal Use, Jessica D. Litman Jan 2007

Lawful Personal Use, Jessica D. Litman

Articles

Despite having sued more than 20,000 of its customers,2 the recording industry wants the world to know that it has no complaint with personal use. Copyright lawyers of all stripes agree that copyright includes a free zone in which individuals may make personal use of copyrighted works without legal liability.3 Unlike other nations, though, the United States hasn't drawn the borders of its lawful personal use zone by statute.4 Determining the circumstances under which personal use of copyrighted works will be deemed lawful is essentially a matter of inference and analogy, and differently striped copyright lawyers will differ vehemently on …


The Intent Element Of Inducement To Infringe Under Patent Law: Reflections On Grokster, Lynda J. Oswald Oct 2006

The Intent Element Of Inducement To Infringe Under Patent Law: Reflections On Grokster, Lynda J. Oswald

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

In June, 2005, the United States Supreme Court set forth an "inducement" rule in MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. that imposes secondary liability on "one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement." The Court emphasized the limitations of the liability standard it was setting forth, stating that the target was only "purposeful, culpable expression and conduct, and thus does nothing to compromise legitimate commerce or discourage innovation having a lawful promise." Yet, the liability standard set forth in Grokster …


Trends In Protection For Informational Works Under Copyright Law During The 19th And 20th Centuries, Miriam Bitton Oct 2006

Trends In Protection For Informational Works Under Copyright Law During The 19th And 20th Centuries, Miriam Bitton

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

The debate over databases protection has failed to identify and discuss some of its most basic and preliminary assumptions, accepting instead many of the historical aspects involved as given. This Article therefore seeks to challenge these underlying assumptions by providing a fresh look at the historical dimension of the debate. One common argument regarding database protection is that the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Feist v. Rural Publications Inc. brought about a dramatic change in the legal landscape, displacing the then-accepted "sweat of the brow" rationale for protecting rights in databases. This Article's historical analysis therefore thoroughly examines the treatment …


Digital Copyright, Jessica D. Litman Jan 2006

Digital Copyright, Jessica D. Litman

Books

In 1998, copyright lobbyists succeeded in persuading Congress to enact laws greatly expanding copyright owners' control over individuals' private uses of their works. The efforts to enforce these new rights have resulted in highly publicized legal battles between established media and new upstarts.

In this book, law professor Jessica Litman questions whether copyright laws crafted by lawyers and their lobbyists really make sense for the vast majority of us. Should every interaction between ordinary consumers and copyright-protected works be restricted by law? Is it practical to enforce such laws, or expect consumers to obey them? What are the effects of …


War And Peace: The 34th Annual Donald C. Brace Lecture, Jessica D. Litman Jan 2006

War And Peace: The 34th Annual Donald C. Brace Lecture, Jessica D. Litman

Other Publications

I'd like to thank the Copyright Society and the Brace committee for inviting me to speak to you this evening. I am honored that you invited me to give this lecture. I want to talk a little bit about war - copyright war - and then I want to talk a little bit about peace. It's become conventional that we're in the middle of a copyright war.' I tried to track down who started calling it that, and what I can tell you is that about ten years ago, about the time that copyright lawyers everywhere were arguing about the …


God In The Machine: A New Structural Analysis Of Copyright's Fair Use Doctrine, Matthew Sag Apr 2005

God In The Machine: A New Structural Analysis Of Copyright's Fair Use Doctrine, Matthew Sag

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Recognition of the structural role of fair use has the potential to mitigate some of the uncertainty of current fair use jurisprudence. The statutory framework for fair use both mitigates and causes uncertainty. It mitigates uncertainty by providing a consistent framework of analysis the four statutory factors. However, when judges apply the statutory factors without articulating or justifying their own assumptions, they increase uncertainty. The statutory factors mean nothing without certain a priori assumptions as to the scope of the copyright owner's rights. A more stable and predictable fair use jurisprudence would begin to emerge if those assumptions were made …


Fair's Fair: An Argument For Mandatory Disclosure Of Technological Protection Measures, Robert C. Denicola Oct 2004

Fair's Fair: An Argument For Mandatory Disclosure Of Technological Protection Measures, Robert C. Denicola

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Section 1201(a)(1) of the Copyright Act prohibits the act of "circumvent[ing] a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work," including, for example, by-passing password protection or encryption intended to restrict access to paying customers. Section 1201(a)(2) prohibits the manufacture or sale of "any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof" primarily designed for the purpose of circumventing access controls on copyrighted works. Additionally, § 1202(b) prohibits the manufacture or sale of products, devices or services primarily designed to circumvent "a technological measure that effectively protects a right of a copyright owner"--for example, a technological measure intended to …


From The Cluetrain To The Panopticon: Isp Activity Characterization And Control Of Internet Communications, Eric Evans Apr 2004

From The Cluetrain To The Panopticon: Isp Activity Characterization And Control Of Internet Communications, Eric Evans

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

If ISPs are exposed to liability for forwarding others' messages--messages originating with other ISPs or with the ISP's own users--the norm of universal mutual message forwarding that underlies the present operation of the Internet will be threatened. This Note will argue that society presently confronts a choice between a common carrier Internet characterized by universal mutual message forwarding and a monitored and controlled Internet. Part I will describe the underlying rules that govern ISPs' liability for their users' actions. Part II will argue that the present statutory regime governing ISPs' liability for users' copyright infringement includes elements that provide ISPs …


Quibbles'n Bits: Making A Digital First Sale Doctrine Feasible, Victor F. Calaba Oct 2002

Quibbles'n Bits: Making A Digital First Sale Doctrine Feasible, Victor F. Calaba

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

Whereas the first sale doctrine historically permitted the transfer and resale of copyrighted works, license agreements used by software companies and the DMCA's strict rules prohibiting tampering with access control devices frustrate exercise of the first sale doctrine with respect to many forms of digital works[...] This article explores the first sale doctrine as it pertains to digital works and proposes ways to make a digital first sale doctrine feasible. Part II describes the first sale doctrine as it has traditionally been applied to non-digital works. Part III discusses modern technology's impact on the distribution and use of copyrighted material. …


Paradigm Shifts And Access Controls: An Economic Analysis Of The Anticircumvention Provisions Of The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Melissa A. Kern Jun 2002

Paradigm Shifts And Access Controls: An Economic Analysis Of The Anticircumvention Provisions Of The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Melissa A. Kern

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Note addresses the broadened scope of protection granted to copyright holders under the anticircumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA). This broadened scope extends to copyright holders the right to control access to their works, diminishing the consumer's 'fair use" of those works that previously served as a defense to alleged copyright infringements. While access controls are supported by economists who believe they are useful in correcting market inefficiencies and excluding free riders, this Note suggests that access controls cannot correct all market inefficiencies. Furthermore, such access controls deny access and use of copyrighted material …


Taking A Bite Out Of Circumvention: Analyzing 17 U.S.C. 1201 As A Criminal Law, Jason M. Schulz Jun 2000

Taking A Bite Out Of Circumvention: Analyzing 17 U.S.C. 1201 As A Criminal Law, Jason M. Schulz

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

...information content providers who depend heavily on copyright law are growing increasingly wary of advances in digital technology that allow manipulation of their content and potentially diminish the effectiveness of their copyright protection. Technology firms, on the other hand, are looking more and more at developing products which provide low-cost, high quality access to content without restriction. Thus, as technologists work feverishly to find new ways to free up information, content providers are fighting just as hard to constrain access in order to prevent market-killing duplication and distribution of their works. These two codependent yet clashing interest groups recently met …