Copyright and Content in the Digital Age


Course Code:
LAW 769
Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail


The digital age has brought about unprecedented opportunity and upheaval in the creation and distribution of content. This seminar will examine digital disruptions to the business models of content creators and industries, and the corresponding impact of the Internet on copyright law, largely through the lens of the litigation involving Google Books. That litigation, which has been active in the courts for almost a decade, is a microcosm of the vast issues that have faced content owners and consumers in the digital age: new technologies to reproduce and distribute works, evolving concepts of fair use, changing consumer norms, massive disruptions to economic interests, increased access to information, concerns about piracy, and threats to competition. We will examine issues related to copyright and content in the digital age by focusing not only on legal claims and defenses, but also litigation strategy, business strategy, policy strategy and public relations strategy, all of which play an important part in the art of lawyering today. The seminar will explore in depth the many contours of the Google Books litigation, including transformative fair use, the problem of orphan works, the rise of ebooks, non-display use and the proposed class action settlement of the case, which was rejected by the district court in 2011. We will also examine digital developments in other content industries (movie, music and newspaper) and focus on two related book issues: the ebook antitrust case against both publishers and Apple and the frequent disputes between publishers and Amazon. The seminar will include visitors who have been involved in the issues being studied. Grading will be based upon weekly reflections, class participation and (for those opting for Research credit) a long paper based on independent research. Some copyright experience is recommended. The course is open to graduate students throughout the university, especially the Graduate School of Business, the Department of Communication and the Journalism Program, by consent of the instructor. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. CONSENT APPLICATION: To apply for this course, students must complete and e-mail the Consent Application Form available on the SLS Registrar's Office website (see Registration and Selection of Classes for Stanford Law Students) to the instructor. See Consent Application Form for submission deadline. Elements used in grading: Class Participation and Written Assignments or Research paper.

Past Offerings

2014-2015 Spring

Copyright and Content in the Digital Age LAW 769 Section 01 Class #30579

  • 3 Units
  • Enrollment Limitations: Consent 16

Copyright and Content in the Digital Age LAW 769 Section 02 Class #32738

  • 3 Units
  • Enrollment Limitations: Consent

Notes: Research Requirement for Law Degree.

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