Copyright law is unique in the greater intellectual property regime, as it protects original expression that is fixed in a tangible medium and is the product of authorship. This course is designed for creative professionals — such as screenwriters, musicians, documentary filmmakers or artists — who want to understand the scope and limits of which works can enjoy U.S. copyright protection. The course will introduce students to the workings of copyright law through an examination of the system’s basic principles, rules, and institutions. Topics will include; the justifications for copyright law, copyrightable subject matter, authorship, the nature and scope of copyright’s exclusive rights, fair use, and remedies for infringement.
We will also explore real-world examples of legal battles surrounding copyright law, from the recent litigation over Robin Thicke’s hit song “Blurred Lines” to more peculiar cases such as the infamous “monkey selfie” case. By understanding what copyright does and does not protect, producers of creative expression will be able to protect and maximize the commercial value of their works.