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Copyright law

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University of Michigan Law School

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Legal History

Articles 1 - 5 of 5

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Invention Of Common Law Play Right, Jessica D. Litman Jan 2010

The Invention Of Common Law Play Right, Jessica D. Litman

Articles

This Article explores playwrights' common law "play right." Since this conference celebrates the 300th birthday of the Statute of Anne, I begin in England in the 17th Century. I find no trace of a common law playwright's performance right in either the law or the customary practices surrounding 17th and 18th century English theatre. I argue that the nature and degree of royal supervision of theatre companies and performance during the period presented no occasion (and, indeed, left no opportunity) for such a right to arise. I discuss the impetus for Parliament's enactment of a performance right statute in 1833, …


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 Public Domain, Jessica D. Litman Jan 1990

The Public Domain, Jessica D. Litman

Articles

This article examines the public domain by looking at the gulf between what authors really do and the way the law perceives them. Part I outlines the basics of copyright as a species of property and introduces the public domain's place within the copyright scheme. Copyright grants authors" ' rights modeled on real property in order to encourage authorship by providing authors with markets in which they can seek compensation for their creations. Because parcels of authorship are intangible, however, the law faces *problems in determining the ownership and boundaries of its property grants. In particular, the concept of "originality," …


Copyright Legislation And Technological Change, Jessica D. Litman Jan 1989

Copyright Legislation And Technological Change, Jessica D. Litman

Articles

Throughout its history, copyright law has had difficulty accommodating technological change. Although the substance of copyright legislation in this century has evolved from meetings among industry representatives whose avowed purpose was to draft legislation that provided for the future,6 the resulting statutes have done so poorly. The language of copyright statutes has been phrased in fact-specific language that has grown obsolete as new modes and mediums of copyrightable expression have developed. Whatever copyright statute has been on the books has been routinely, and justifiably, criticized as outmoded.7 In this Article, I suggest that the nature of the legislative process we …


Copyright, Compromise And Legislative History, Jessica D. Litman Jan 1987

Copyright, Compromise And Legislative History, Jessica D. Litman

Articles

Copyright law gives authors a "property right." But what kind of property right? Indeed, a property right in what? The answers to these questions should be apparent from a perusal of title seventeen of the United States Code-the statute that confers the "property" right.' Courts, however, have apparently found title seventeen an unhelpful guide. For the most part, they look elsewhere for answers, relying primarily on prior courts' constructions of an earlier and very different statute on the same subject. 2