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US Copyright Law and Practice (LAWS90104)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2017
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeLAWS90104
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

The subject will cover the relationship of statutory to constitutional norms, particularly with respect to US copyright’s accommodation of freedom of expression. The copyright 'Subject Matter' topic will include applied art and computer programs – works whose protection courts have not easily resolved. Ownership will focus on the peculiarities of the US works made for hire doctrine. The 'Formalities' topic will explore the extent to which formalities still condition the exercise of copyright in the US. The 'Exclusive Rights' topic will include analysis of the scope of rights in the online environment. The 'Exceptions' topic will concentrate on 'fair use', and will consider its 'portability' particularly in light of calls to incorporate 'fair use' into other countries’ copyright laws, including Australia’s. Remedies will address enforcement, including the liability of online service providers

Jane C Ginsburg is the Morton L Janklow Professor of Literary and Artistic Property Law at Columbia University in New York City, where she teaches copyright law, and is the author or co-author of many books and articles on US and international copyright law.

Principal topics include:

  • Constitutional foundations of US copyright
  • Subject matter of copyright
  • Ownership of copyright
  • Formalities
  • Exclusive rights
  • Exceptions
  • Remedies.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the legal principles of US copyright law and practice law within the context of work, including recent developments in this field of law and practice
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these legal rules
  • Be an engaged participant in debates regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field, such as online infringement, intermediary liability, the scope for fair use defences and users’ rights, conflict of laws issues, the effects of technological change, and international and trade issues affecting US law and policy making
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the factors and processes driving congressional revision of the legal framework
  • Have a detailed understanding of US approaches to copyright and related issues in an international and human rights context
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to US copyright law and practice
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding US copyright law and practice to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences, including practitioners and clients working in non-US jurisdictions
  • Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner in non-US jurisdictions to providing advice to clients on issues arising in relation to US copyright law that affect clients in those jurisdictions.

Last updated: 11 January 2018