Copyright in a Digital Age
(Special Topics in Communication)
Fall 2005 Prof. Tarleton Gillespie http://www.blackboard.cornell.edu/
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.
midterm paper: 30%
case brief: 10%
final research paper: 40%
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 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)
Mark Rose, Authors and Owners, Chapter 2 (1993) -- E-RESERVESEPT 7: the principles of modern copyright: copying and use
Wikipedia, "Copyright"SEPT 12: the principles of modern copyright: public domain
James Boyle, "The Second Enclosure Movement and the Construction of the Public Domain" (2003)SEPT 14: the principles of modern copyright: secondary liability
Sony v. Universal (1984) -- Supreme Court decision
Edward Young, excerpt from "Conjectures on Original Composition" (1759) -- E-RESERVESEPT 21: the "author" in copyright law
Peter Jaszi, "Toward a Theory of Copyright: The Metamorphoses of 'Authorship'" (1991) -- BLACKBOARD
National Information Infrastructure, "Agenda for Action" (1993)SEPT 28: the "information society" and the economics of culture
John Caldwell, "The Business of New Media" (2002) -- E-RESERVEOCT 3: the transformation of authorship: hypertext and networking
George Landow, Hypertext 2.0, Chapter 4 (1997) -- E-RESERVEOCT 5: the transformation of authorship: collaboration and amateurs
Wikipedia, "Wikipedia"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)OCT 17: early Net legal issues
case brief due
Charles Mann, "Heavenly Jukebox," Atlantic Monthly (2000) -- BLACKBOARDOCT 24: Napster
Brad King, "A Chat With Hilary Rosen," Wired (2000)OCT 26: Grokster
MGM v. Grokster (2005) -- Supreme Court decision
Jim Johnson, a.k.a. Bruno Latour, "Mixing Humans and Nonhumans Together: The Sociology of a Door-Closer" (1988) -- BLACKBOARDNOV 2: DRM and "trusted systems"
Mark Stefik, "Letting Loose the Light: Igniting Commerce in Electronic Publication" (1996)NOV 7: the DMCA and anti-circumvention
U.S. Copyright Office, summary of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998)NOV 9: DeCSS
Universal et al v. Reimerdes et al (2000) -- Southern District of NY injunction
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-RESERVENOV 23: THANKSGIVING -- no class
NOV 28: alternatives and solutions, part I
Wikipedia, "Copyleft"NOV 30: alternatives and solutions, part II
Electronic Frontier Foundation, "A Better Way Forward: Voluntary Collective Licensing of Music File Sharing" (2004)
Final paper due during exam period.