U.S. Copyright Laws Online Primer – Copyright Act

To teach a course on U.S. copyright laws to nonlawyers, it’s important to provide readings and resources targeted at a varied audience at a level they can comprehend. Luckily, there are many excellent books, articles and blogs on U.S. copyright law. However, one of the best resources is the Copyright Act itself. Nonlawyers who I have introduced to the Act have been pleasantly surprised that the Act, for the most part, is fairly straightforward to read. So, I will begin the online course on U.S. copyright law with referring the students to the Act and we will together read the Act in our first two webinars, and discuss it in our online discussion list. We will look at the definition sections for application and explanations, focus on specific provisions, talk about copyright parlance, find logic in the Act as a whole and in specific provisions and more.  From there, we will proceed to cases and writings that explain, discuss and analyze the copyright law.

Issues we will discuss include:

  • background and composition of U.S. copyright law
  • criteria for copyright protection (such as originality and fixation)
  • what works are protected
  • how to protect works (e.g., registration and copyright notice requirements)
  • ownership and protection of rights
  • copyright protection duration
  • exploitation of rights
  • copyright infringement and remedies.

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