Last updated: 3-24-05

Advanced Copyright Law and Policy

Washington College of Law, American University

Wednesday 7:30 - 10:10 

924-001   WCL 313

Spring 2005

Professor Rob Kasunic

Office hours by appointment 


                    Jump to Class #1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14


Required Texts: (Click links for purchase options)

bulletJessica Litman, Digital Copyright (Prometheus Press, 2001)
bulletThe Digital Dilemma (National Academy Press, 2000) (students can use the free online version)
bulletThe 1976 Copyright Act  17 U.S.C 101 et seq. (Title 17) 
Note: Students may already have supplements containing title 17 from other courses that may be used. The complete text is available for purchase from the GPO at:  http://bookstore.gpo.gov (search for Circular 92) 
Stock number: 030-002-00197-7 
Title: Copyright Law of the United States of America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code, June 2003
ISBN: 0-16-067779-3

Optional texts: 

bulletPike & Fisher, The Digital Millennium Copyright Act: Text, History and Case Law (contains most of the cases and rulemaking material we will be covering)
bulletJames Lardner, Fast Forward: A Machine and the Commotion it caused [Sony Betamax]    (Out of Print, but has been put on reserve in the WCL Library)
bullet Copy Fights, Cato Institute

Other required and recommended readings will be made available online, in handouts, or on reserve in the library. 


bullet For ideas on research topics, the many recent copyright news articles linked at: http://www.kasunic.com/news.htm may provide leads. 


bullet In addition, all students must read Pamela Samuelson's article about good legal writing before choosing a topic and are encouraged to read again it after choosing a topic: http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/~pam/papers/goodwriting.html.



bulletThe grade will be composed of 75% for the research paper (including outline and draft) and 25% for class participation. All students are expected to participate in class and each student will also discuss his or her paper topic. Students can earn a participation credit in class by demonstrating familiarity with the course materials and verbally analyzing relevant legal issues. 


bulletProposed paper topics due by: February 23, 2005 
bulletPaper outline due: March 16, 2005 
bulletPaper draft due: April 13, 2005 
bulletFinal draft due: May 14 (Final day of exam period)

Each student must complete an original research paper of at least 20 double-spaced pages, including footnotes. You may also submit a longer paper (30 pages minimum) for satisfaction of the upper-level writing requirement.


Class Schedule


1     January 12    


bullet Class introduction
bulletPreview of Fair Use in the Digital Age
bulletThe Jib Jab parody "This Land" and the threat of suit
bulletCarter Family's "When the World's on Fire" from the EFF's Deep Links
bulletThe Chillingeffects site and other threats
bulletThe Copyright Office site


2     January 19 

Copyright Infringement --  Practice and Litigation:        

bulletThe exclusive rights, statutory limitations and remedies in practice
bulletFred Bouchat v. The Baltimore Ravens, Inc. and NFLP, Inc., 228 F.3d 489, 56 USPQ2d 1422 (4th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, (U.S. May 21, 2001) (No. 00-1494) -- (Liability Phase)
bulletFred Bouchat v. The Baltimore Ravens, Inc. and NFLP, Inc., 346 F.3d 514 (4th Cir. 2003). (Damage Phase)
bulletTo view the works at issue, see: http://www.kasunic.com/cert_articles.htm 
bulletYou may also want to consider a  law review articles on the access and striking similarity issues in 13 Fordham Intell. Prop. Media & Ent.L.J. 653 (Winter 2003) and in 9 Vill. Sports & Ent. L Forum 97 (2002).
bulletMusic infringement -- the Columbia site and the Copyright Website


3     January 26

The Balance in Copyright:        

bulletFair Use review and application to technology: Discussion and review of Section 107 
bulletFair use returns to its roots: Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, 510 U.S. 569 (1994)
bulletExcerpts of the works on the Copyright Website
bulletApplication to the Internet environment: Kelly v. Arriba Soft,  336 F.3d 811 (2003) which was substituted for the prior opinion at 280 F.3d 934 (9th Cir. 2002)
bulletIs fair use a right?
bulletIs is merely the "right to hire a lawyer"?
bulletDoes the balance in copyright law rely on fair use?
bulletWould we be better off with specific, more certain exemptions?
bulletWhat does Campbell teach us about the fair use analysis?

Highly Recommended

bullet David Nimmer's article "Fairest of them all" and Other Fairy Tales of the Fair Use Factors"


4     February 2        

Fair Use and Technology:

 Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417, 104 S.Ct. 774 (1984) -- please read closely for an understanding of the specific facts and holding. Since this case is relied on in many of the recent P2P cases and Digital Video Recorder cases, a careful reading will be necessary for the next class as well. 

James Lardner's "Fast Forward: A Machine and the Commotion It Caused" is an excellent book on the background and events surrounding the Sony Betamax's development and litigation (On Reserve at the Law Library)

Peer-to-Peer Litigation

bulletRead the Ninth Circuit decision in A&M Records v. Napster, 239 F.3d 1004 (9th Cir. 2001) parts I (the Napster System) and III (Infringement and Fair Use)


5     February 9

Secondary Liability:       

bulletRead: MGM Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd.,  380 F.3d 1184 (9th Cir. 2004)  [Also, the audio file of the oral argument before the 9th Circuit is available here (choose audio file # 03-55894) and check the Supreme Court docket  -- the date of oral argument is March 29, 2005.
bulletIn re Aimster Copyright Litig., 334 F.3d 643 (7th Cir. 2003)
bulletTake a look at the EFF site's collection of amicus briefs to the Supreme Court on the Petition for Certiorari.
bulletSee also, CNET coverage of the P2P developments


6     February 16    

bulletGrokster continued...
bulletWhy Wilco Is the Future of Music
bulletBrief filed by and amici on behalf of the Petitioner are here
bulletBriefs of interest:

       Senators Patrick Leahy and Orrin Hatch (Amici Curiae in Support of Neither Party )

       Professors Kenneth Arrow et al. (Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioners) Law Professors, 

       Economics Professors and Treatise Authors (Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioners)

       Professors Menell, Nimmer, Merges, and Hughes (Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioners)

       BSA (Business Software Alliance) (Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioners)

       Digital Media Association et al. (Amici Curiae in Support of Neither Party)

       Audible Magic, Digimarc Corp., and Gracenote (Amici Curiae in Support of Neither Party)

      IEEE-USA (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.) (Amicus Curiae in Support of Neither Party)


7     February 23

Proposed Paper Topics Due   

Policy Choices and Legislative Reactions to P2Ps:

What's the solution

bulletDigital Copyright pp. 151-170

Civil Disobedience? See this Wired article.


Deterence and Education: H.R. 2517


Suits against direct infringers (RIAA Sues the Dead)


Self-help -- H.R. 5211 




Digital Rights Management and technological protections 


Government standards/broadcast flags: S. 2048Antipiracy plan takes shape


The market effect: Real's Rhapsody, Apple's iTunes, Napster and other authorized services


Legislation: INDUCE Act and the Copyright Office proposal


 Alternative Compensation Systems (see below)


Anonymity and subpoenas: Register of Copyrights testimony

Optional considerations:


Neil Netanel's proposed levy system


Terry Fisher's Alternative Compensation System


Lon Sobel's proposal of ISPs as Digital Retailers

bulletSolving the P2P Problem
bulletNapster Has a Go at iTunes


8     March 2     

Limitations on liability relating to materials online and the DMCA's Section 512:

bulletIn re: Charter Communications, Inc., ___ F.3d ___ (8th Cir. 2005)
bullet RIAA v. Verizon decision, 2003 U.S. App. LEXIS 25735 (DCC 2003)
bulletEllison v. Robertson, 9th Circuit opinion (February 10, 2004) [the district court opinion is available at: Ellison v. Robertson, 189 F. Supp. 2d 1051 (C.D. CA 2002)]
bulletThe Copyright Office's summary of the DMCA ( Read pp. 8-13)
bulletDigital Copyright pp. 89-121
bulletRead sections with headings on direct, contributory and vicarious liability in Religious Technology v. Netcom Online Communication Services, 907 F. Supp. 1361 (C.D. Cal 1995)
bulletThe 9th Circuit Napster decision (focus on the facts and 512 defense in section VI.b
bulletThe FatWallet.com story and another and the Chilling Effects site 

Recommended additional reading:

bullet ALSscan v. Remarq, 239 F.3d 619 (4th Cir. 2001)
bulletCostar v. Loopnet, 164 F. Supp 2d 688 (D. Md. 2001)
bulletHendrickson v. eBay, Inc., 165 F. Supp. 2d 1082 (C.D. Ca 2001) or (here)
bullet Arnold Lutzker, et al., Highlights of New Copyright Provision Establishing Limitation of Liability for Online Service Providers



March 9 -- Spring Break


9     March 16   

Paper outline due

The Legislative Process generally and the legislative history of the DMCA 

bulletJessica Litman's, Digital Copyright pp. Skim pages 11 - 88, Read pp. 122-150
bulletThe Section 104 Report
bulletRead closely: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act's Section 1201 and
bulletThe Copyright Office's summary of the DMCA on Technological Protection and Copyright Management Systems


bulletDavid Nimmer's article, Appreciating Legislative History: The Sweet and Sour Spots of the DMCA's Commentary


10     March 23   

The Litigation under Section 1201

bulletThe Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Skylink Technologies, Inc., 381 F. 3d 1178 (Fed. Cir. 2005)
bulletLexmark Int'l, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc., 387 F.3d 522 (6th Cir. 2005)


bulletUniversal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes, 111 F. Supp. 2d 346 (S.D.N.Y. 2000)
bullet321 Studios v. MGM Studios, Inc., 307 F. Supp.2d 1085 (N.D. Ca. 2004).
bulletFelten v. RIAA, bench decision transcript (HTML) and (PDF) and the cease and desist letter and other documents
bulletUS v. Elcom, Ltd. and Sklyarov, 203 F. Supp. 2d 1111 ( N.D. Ca. 2002): Judge White's Order denying defendant's motion to dismiss on constitutional grounds (PDF)
bulletUniversal City Studios v. Corley273 F.3d 429 (2d Cir. 2001)


11     March 30  

The Litigation under Section 1201 (continued) and The Copyright Office Rulemaking on Section 1201(a)(1)

bulletThe Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Skylink Technologies, Inc., 381 F. 3d 1178 (Fed. Cir. 2005)
bulletLexmark Int'l, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc., 387 F.3d 522 (6th Cir. 2005)
bulletThe Anticircumvention Rulemaking record
bulletThe Federal Register Notice for the 2003 Rulemaking,
bulletthe 2003 Register's Recommendation summary in the FR, and 
bullet2000 Register's Recommendation to the Librarian of Congress


bulletThe Full Recommendation of the Register of Copyrights
bulletDan Burk's article on Anticircumvention Misuse
bullet For further information about DRM issues: Berkeley's 2003 Digital Rights Management Conference Online Resource page


12     April 6         

bullet  General discussion about new litigation, legislation, the current state of copyright law and its proper role in the future.

        For discussion purposes, please review summary of Kahle v. Ashcroft here, H.R. 1201 (formerly known as H.R. 107) available here, Larry Lessig's Creative Commons project, AFP suit against Google (see story), and any other issues you'd like to discuss.


13     April 13    

        Paper draft due  

        Student Paper Presentations 


14     April 20       

           Student Paper Presentations 


May 6-14     Student Papers Due! 

Graduating Senior are requested to turn their papers in by May 9th since these grades are due May 16. Submissions of the papers may be accomplished electronically, however, if you want to be absolutely certain that your paper has been received on time, you may also submit a hard copy to the Registrar in Room 304 on or before Saturday May 14. Students are responsible for identifying the Saturday hours of operation for Room 304. Electronic submissions of paper  should be submitted to: rkasunic@kasunic.com and please also copy me at rkas@loc.gov. I will send a confirmation of all electronic submissions as soon as possible after receipt. To avoid problems, submission the day before the deadline (OR electronic and hard copy submission) is advised.




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