Communication // Information Science 494
Copyright in a Digital Age
(Special Topics in Communication)

Fall 2005
Prof. Tarleton Gillespie

MW 1:25-2:40pm
Kennedy 211
office hours: Wed 10am-12pm -- 315 Kennedy



We're in the midst of a contentious legal and cultural battle about copyright and its role in the digital age. Decisions made now will not only influence the music and movie industries, consumers and fans, artists and filmmakers, they will also help define the Net as a medium of communication. As these controversies are slowly being settled, recognition of the broader issues and concerns that they raise remains sporadic. In this class, we will look at recent legal battles in the context of the historical and ideological relationships among authorship, technology, commerce, law, and culture. We will investigate these questions and uncover important issues for cultural participation in a digital world: who gets to speak, what they can say, who will hear, under what conditions communication can occur, and with what consequences. We will consider how the law acts as an arena for the collision of authorship and the market, technology and expression, individual and institution, culture and power.



The most important assignment is to read all of the materials thoroughly; I expect everyone to participate fully in class discussions, and this can only work if you have given the readings your full attention. To deepen that conversation, before each Monday class meeting you will be required to log onto our Blackboard site and participate at least once in a discussion about that week's topic. Your active and meaningful participationonline and in class will be graded. A midterm paper, 6-8 pages in length responding to a specific question, will be due in week 5. One case synopsis, or "brief," will be due in week 8 and will be shared with the class. A final 15-20 page research paper, due during exam period, will deal with some conceptual aspect of these debates -- the topic will be your choice, in consultation with me and with the class.

online and class participation: 20%
midterm paper: 30%
case brief: 10%
final research paper: 40%

Graduate students enrolled in 694 will be asked to write a longer, research-oriented piece as a final assignment.



Readings are available online, either on the web, inside of our Blackboard site, or through E-Reserve in the Cornell Library. Check the online syllabus for links and instructions.




Aug 29: introduction

Aug 31: the rules that structure culture

Shalini Venturelli, "From the Information Economy to the Creative Economy: Moving Culture to the Center of International Public Policy" (2000)
Library of Congress, "Copyright Basics" (2000)
only Sections 1 - 12 ("copyright registration") are required



SEPT 5: the history of copyright

Mark Rose, Authors and Owners, Chapter 2 (1993) -- E-RESERVE
Ronald Bettig "Critical Perspectives on the History and Philosophy of Copyright" (1992) -- E-RESERVE

SEPT 7: the principles of modern copyright: copying and use

Wikipedia, "Copyright"
Cornell copyright policy (1990)
Wikipedia, "Fair Use"

SEPT 12: the principles of modern copyright: public domain

James Boyle, "The Second Enclosure Movement and the Construction of the Public Domain" (2003)
Peter Hirtle, "Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the U.S." [chart] (2005)

SEPT 14: the principles of modern copyright: secondary liability

Sony v. Universal (1984) -- Supreme Court decision
read majority and dissenting opinions



SEPT 19: theories of authorship

Edward Young, excerpt from "Conjectures on Original Composition" (1759) -- E-RESERVE
Michel Foucault, "What is an Author?" (1969) -- E-RESERVE
Howard Becker, Art Worlds, Chapter 1 (1982) -- E-RESERVE

SEPT 21: the "author" in copyright law

Peter Jaszi, "Toward a Theory of Copyright: The Metamorphoses of 'Authorship'" (1991) -- BLACKBOARD
only Sections I-IV are required



SEPT 26: the rise and implications of the Internet and digitization
paper due

National Information Infrastructure, "Agenda for Action" (1993)
Kevin Kelly, "New Rules for the New Economy" Wired (1997)

SEPT 28: the "information society" and the economics of culture

John Caldwell, "The Business of New Media" (2002) -- E-RESERVE
Enrique Bustamante, "Cultural Industries in the Digital Age" (2004) -- BLACKBOARD

OCT 3: the transformation of authorship: hypertext and networking

George Landow, Hypertext 2.0, Chapter 4 (1997) -- E-RESERVE
Graham Weinbren, "The Digital Revolution Is a Revolution of Random Access" (1997)
Lev Manovich, "Models of Authorship in New Media" (2002)

OCT 5: the transformation of authorship: collaboration and amateurs

Wikipedia, "Wikipedia"
Clay Shirky, "Weblogs and the Mass Amateurization of Publishing" (2002)
Tom Coates, "(Weblogs and) the Mass Amateurization of (Nearly) Everything" (2003)
Josh Greenberg, "Hackers, Tinkerers, and Amateurs, Oh My!" (2004) -- BLACKBOARD

OCT 10: FALL BREAK -- no class

OCT 12: early theories of how the Net would change copyright, and vice versa

John Perry Barlow, "The Economy of Ideas" Wired (1994)
Esther Dyson, "Intellectual Value" Wired (1995)
NII Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights, "White Paper: Executive Summary" (1995)
Jack Valenti, "A Clear Present and Future Danger" (2002)

OCT 17: early Net legal issues
case brief due



OCT 19: peer-to-peer

Charles Mann, "Heavenly Jukebox," Atlantic Monthly (2000) -- BLACKBOARD
Peter Biddle et al., "The Darknet and the Future of Content Distribution" (2002)
Jeff Howe, "The Shadow Internet" Wired (2005)
Cornell IT Policy Office on file-trading (2003)

OCT 24: Napster

Brad King, "A Chat With Hilary Rosen," Wired (2000)
Brad King, "Napster CEO Gets Intellectual," Wired (2000)
A&M et. al. v. Napster (2001) Ninth Circuit Appeals Court revised injunction
Steve Albini, "The Problem with Music" (1993)
RIAA, "The Cost of a CD" (2003)

OCT 26: Grokster

MGM v. Grokster (2005) -- Supreme Court decision
read syllabus, opinion, and both concurring opinions


Digital rights management

OCT 31: building law into technology

Jim Johnson, a.k.a. Bruno Latour, "Mixing Humans and Nonhumans Together: The Sociology of a Door-Closer" (1988) -- BLACKBOARD
Lawrence Lessig, Code, and Other Laws of Cyberspace, Chapter 7 (1999) -- E-RESERVE
Rajiv Shah and Jay Kesan, "Manipulating the Governance Characteristics of Code" (2003) -- BLACKBOARD

NOV 2: DRM and "trusted systems"

Mark Stefik, "Letting Loose the Light: Igniting Commerce in Electronic Publication" (1996)
Mike Godwin "What Every Citizen Should Know about DRM" (2004)

NOV 7: the DMCA and anti-circumvention

U.S. Copyright Office, summary of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998)
Peter Jaszi, "Copyright, Paracopyright, and Pseudo-copyright" (1998)
Pamela Samuelson, "DRM {and, or, vs.} the Law" (2003)


Universal et al v. Reimerdes et al (2000) -- Southern District of NY injunction


Implications and alternatives

NOV 14: discussion of final papers
have your final paper idea ready to hand in (1-page written) and to discuss with the class

NOV 16: implications: digital licensing

Julie Cohen, "Lochner in Cyberspace" (1998)

NOV 21: implications pay-per-use society vs. remix culture

Vincent Mosco, "Introduction: Information in the Pay-Per Society." (1988) -- E-RESERVE
through page 18
Yochai Benkler, "Freedom in the Commons: Towards a Political Economy of Information" (2003)
Richard Koman, "Remix Culture: An interview with Lawrence Lessig" (2005)

NOV 23: THANKSGIVING -- no class

NOV 28: alternatives and solutions, part I

Wikipedia, "Copyleft"
Creative Commons: History and Licenses
Lessig, Free Culture, Afterword (2004)
Induce Act of 2005
Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act of 2005
Center for Democracy and Technology, "Protecting Copyright and Internet Values: A Balanced Path Forward" (2005)

NOV 30: alternatives and solutions, part II

Electronic Frontier Foundation, "A Better Way Forward: Voluntary Collective Licensing of Music File Sharing" (2004)
William Fisher, Promises to Keep, Chapter 6 (2004)



Final paper due during exam period.