Extended Readings on Copyright

On this page you will find a collection of extended reading assignments that I use in teaching Copyright Law. These Extended Readings on Copyright can be used as a textbook or as individual modules to supplement a textbook. Unlike a regular textbook, I don’t pretend that every important issue in copyright is addressed in these materials.

The modules are arranged in the order that I teach them, but most can be used in any sequence. Each module is subject to a Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

You should consider the current offers as a Beta version. Most of the readings contain placeholders for additional comments and expansion; no doubt all of them contain trivial editing, formatting, and dictation errors. Your suggestions for improvements are welcome! I will post additional modules and revise the existing ones on a continual basis, major revisions will be noted on this website.

You can bulk download a zip file of all the finished modules as of February 9, 2019.

Introduction to Copyright

Introduction to Copyright, Version 2019-01. About 20 pages. Includes: Historical development of copyright, Expansion of copyright subject matter, Normative and economic justifications for copyright, Copyright’s international framework, and A quick look at the rights of the copyright owner.

Originality and Creativity

Originality and Creativity, Version 2019-01. About 30 pages. Significant extracts from Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing, Alfred Bell v. Catalda Fine Arts, and Feist v. Rural Telephone.

Exclusion of Facts, Ideas, and Functions

Exclusion of Facts, Ideas, and Functions, Version 2019-01.  About 41 pages. Significant extracts from Baker v. Selden, Nichols v. Universal Pictures, Bikram’s Yoga v. Evolation Yoga, and Lexmark International v. Static Control.

Historical Development of the Concepts of Reproduction, Adaptation, and Fair Use

Historical Development of the Concepts of Reproduction, Adaptation, and Fair Use, Version 2019-01. About 35 pages. Significant extracts from Gyles v. Wilcox, Folsom v. Marsh, White-Smith Music v. Apollo, Kalem v. Harper Brothers, and Warner Brothers v. RDR Books.

The Reproduction Right

The Reproduction Right, Version 2019-01. About 50 pages. Significant extracts from Arnstein v. Porter, Williams v. Gaye, and Tufenkian Import/Export Ventures v. Einstein Moomjy. 

Copyright Exceptions and Limitations

Exceptions and Limitations in General

Exceptions and Limitations in General, Version 2019-01. About 7 pages. A brief conceptual introduction and review of different approaches to exceptions and limitations in copyright law. Also a brief discussion of the relevance of the “three step test” to the fair use doctrine.

Expressive Fair Use

Expressive Fair Use, Version 2019-01. About 58 pages. Significant extract from Campbell v. Acuff-Rose, Mattel Inc. v. Walking Mountain Products, Suntrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin, Cariou v. Prince , Sony v. Universal City Studios, A & M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Authors Guild v. HathiTrust (disability access), and Cambridge University Press v. Albert (the GSU Copyright case).

Non-Expressive Fair Use

Non-Expressive Fair Use, Version 2019-01. About 50 pages. Significant extracts from Sega v. Accolade, A.V. ex rel. Vanderhye v. iParadigms, Authors Guild v. HathiTrust, and Authors Guild v. Google.

Copyright Subject Matter and the Boundaries of the Work

Copyright Subject Matter and the Boundaries of the Work, Version 2019-01. About 23 pages. Significant extracts from Garcia v. Google, 786 F. 3d 733 (9th Circuit 2015) (en banc), and 16 Casa Duse v. Merkin, 791 F. 3d 247 (2nd Cir. 2015). This module will be expanded significantly when I get around to finishing my law review article on “Conceptual Puzzles About Copyrighted Works” one day in the distant future. Note that in my class I also assign the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition, Chapter 300 ( with this material.

Ownership, Authorship and Transfers

Ownership, Authorship & Transfers, Version 2019-01. About 41 pages. Key cases include Pope v. Curl , Aalmuhammed v. Lee, Weissmann v. Freeman, Gardner v. Nike, Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid (but briefly) and Stewart v. Abend.

Moral Rights, Version 2019-01. About 30 pages. Key cases include Cohen v. G&M Realty (the 5 Points Graffiti case).

Special Topics in Copyright Subject Matter

Copyright and Industrial Design

Copyright and Industrial Design, Version 2019-02. About 22 pages. Significant extracts from Mazer v. Stein, and Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands.

Computer Software

Copyright and Computer Software, Versions 2019-01. Summary material providing an overview of the relevant international framework, copyright protection for computer software in the United States, and the history of software copyright litigation in the United States. Significant extracts from Oracle v. Google (2018 fair use decision).

Databases and Compilations [tbd]

Photography [tbd]

Music [tbd]

Formalities and Duration

Formalities and Duration, Version 2019-01. About 26 pages. Significant extracts from Estate of Martin Luther King v. CBS, and Golan v. Holder. [This section needs some expansion.]

Distribution and First Sale [tbd]

Public Performance, Display and Transmission [tbd]

Internet Safe Harbors

Internet Safe Harbors, Version 2019-01. About 40 pages. Significant extracts from Viacom International v. YouTube, BMG Rights Management v. Cox Communications, Mavrix Photographs v. Livejournal, and Lenz v. Universal Music. Also includes an extended commentary on Section 512(i)(A) and what it means to reasonably implement a repeat infringer policy.

Secondary Liability

Secondary Liability, Version 2019-01. About 39 pages. Significant extracts from Shapiro, Bernstein & Co. v. H. L. Green, Gershwin v. Columbia, Sony v. Universal City Studios, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios v. Grokster, Perfect 10 v. Visa International, BMG Rights Management v. Cox Communications, Cobbler Nevada v. Gonzales, and UMG Recordings v. Shelter Capital Partners.

Volitional Conduct, Linking, and Ancillary Copyright

Volitional Conduct, Linking, and Ancillary Copyright, Version 2019-02. About 40 pages. Significant extracts from Religious Technology v. Netcom, CoStar Group v. LoopNet, Cartoon Network v. CSC Holdings, Fox Broadcast Corporation v. Dish Network, Perfect 10 v., Goldman v. Breitbart News Network, and GS Media v. Sanoma Media Netherlands. Updated with a discussion of Article 15 of the Digital Single Market Directive (Ancillary Copyright)

Remedies for Copyright Infringement [tbd]

Procedural Issues in Copyright Litigation [tbd]