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IPGL 0811 - Digital Copyright

Since the mid-1960s it has been apparent that digital technologies would pose significant challenges to the evolution of U.S. copyright law. During the first several weeks of the term, we will focus on studying how courts have analyzed the proper scope of copyright protection for computer programs,. Although copyright law does not generally protect functionality, it does protect some literal and nonliteral elements of programs, which are, by definition, virtual machines that happen to be constructed in texts. We will review the major appellate court rulings on software copyright scope, including the controversial Oracle v. Google rulings of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which Google is seeking to persuade the Supreme Court to review. A second focus will be on the evolution of rules establishing direct and indirect liability of Internet service providers and technology platforms for infringements committed by third parties. A third focus will be on limiting principles of U.S. copyright law, such as fair use and exhaustion of rights, as applied to digital uses of copyrighted works. Because the European Union has different rules about digital copyright protections, some comparative analysis will also be featured.
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