This page contains various online references, articles, and other sources that I have found helpful in writing for this site and understanding copyright law.
Legal and Historical Reference
Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900) — Full text and scans of documents relating to copyright and literary property from the invention of the printing press to the dawn of the modern IP age. Includes letters, articles, book excerpts, legislation, and case law from the US, England, France, Germany, and Italy.
Privilege and Property – Essays on the History of Copyright — A modern day collection of essays on the history of copyright, commissioned as a companion to the Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900) digital archive. Full text available.
US Copyright Laws — 1783–present — full text of all US copyright legislation, including all amendments and colonial copyright acts.
Making Sense of the Intellectual Property Clause: Promotion of Progress as a Limitation on Congress’s Intellectual Property Power (2006) and The (Constitutional) Convention on IP: A New Reading (2010), by Dotan Oliar. Both articles present a microscopic look at the historical record surrounding the proposals and debates that led to the IP Clause in the US Constitution.
Copyright Law and Practice, Chapter 1 (William Patry) — full text, narrative of history of US copyright legislation through the DMCA.
Copyright: Its Law and Literature, R.R. Bowker (1886) — A comprehensive view of the history, principles, and law of copyright as of the time it was published. Also includes a bibliography of works related to literary property compiled by Thorvald Solberg, who would go on to become the first Register of Copyrights in the US.
About the US Copyright Office — A large selection of documents, including strategic plans, regulations, and speeches and testimony from the Office, as well as historical documents including biographies of the Registers of Copyright, annual reports, revision studies, and articles.
Unwinding Sony, Peter S. Menell & David Nimmer (2006) — A critical examination of the Supreme Court’s seminal decision on technology and fair use in Sony Corp v. Universal City (the Betamax case), with the view that the Court came to the right decision for the wrong reasons. The authors also explain why this has critical implications still today.
DMCA Legislative History — All relevant documents comprising the official legislative history of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, the most recent and substantial addition to the US Copyright Act.
Copyright Resources at Legal Information Institute — online resources pertaining to US and international copyright law.
Copyright reference sources on the internet — a collection of online resources from notable copyright scholar Jessica Litman for her copyright law course.
The Discography: Legal Encyclopedia of Popular Music — Comprehensive database of lawsuits involving those in the music business. Not limited to copyright; covers all types of litigation.
Essays and Speeches on Copyright
Proof of the Illegality of Reprinting: A Rationale and a Parable (.DOC), Johann Gottlieb Fichte, trans. Martha Woodmansee (1793).
Demonology of Copyright, Barbara Ringer, 1974 — A history of copyright and its role as an agent of freedom, its importance in cultivating knowledge, and a ringing endorsement for the need to maintain its vitality in the face of technological change that is as true today as it was over three decades ago.
Why the Digital Piracy War has to be Fought, Lon Sobel (2002) — A succinct explanation of why creators must assert their rights in the face of the easy, cheap, and large-scale copying that the internet and digital technology enables.
Copyright and Economics
An Economic Analysis of Copyright Law, Landes & Posner (1989) — A seminal work describing copyright law in economic terms.
Indirect Liability for Copyright Infringement: An Economic Perspective, William Landes & Douglas Lichtman (2003) — A broad look at the principles behind secondary liability both in general and specifically applied in the copyright context.
The Elusive Symbiosis: The Impact of Radio on the Record Industry, Stan J. Liebowitz (2004). Presents “evidence indicating that radio play does not appear to benefit overall record sales.”
An Empirical Study of U.S. Copyright Fair Use Opinions, 1978-2005, Barton Beebe (2008) — Comprehensive look at how courts have actually applied fair use in decisions, including “which factors and subfactors actually drive the outcome of the fair use test in practice, how the fair use factors interact, how courts inflect certain individual factors, and the extent to which judges stampede the factor outcomes to conform to the overall test outcome.”
Unbundling Fair Use, Pamela Samuelson (2009) — By grouping fair uses into different “policy-relevant clusters”, Samuelson shows that application of the doctrine is far more predictable than typically described.
Predicting Fair Use, Matthew Sag (2011) — More empirical evidence that shows fair use law is more rational and consistent than commonly assumed.
Making Sense of Fair Use, Neil Natanel (2011) — Combining the previous three empirical studies of fair use, Natanel adds his own research to this area to provide a comprehensive look at fair use case law.
Copyright and Property
Liberty versus Property? Cracks in the Foundations of Copyright Law, Richard Epstein (2004) — A critical look at the argument that copyright is not property.
Is Copyright Property? Adam Mossoff (2005) — Yes. Mossoff shows that criticism of the idea that copyright is property is based on an impoverished concept of property.
Transformation in Property and Copyright, Christopher M. Newman (2010) — Newman argues that importing certain ideas from property law into copyright law would lead to better defined boundaries between permissible and impermissible uses of existing copyrighted works.
Copyright and the First Amendment
Why the First Amendment Cannot Dictate Copyright Policy, David McGowan (2003) — McGowan gives five reasons why.
Some Realism about the Free Speech Critique of Copyright Law, David McGowan (2005) — Arguments that free speech principles should be used to limit length and scope of copyright laws and give defendants a boost in infringement lawsuits are based largely on faulty premises.
First Amendment Opportunism, Frederick Schauer (2000) — Schauer talks about why people turn to the First Amendment to make their case when other rhetoric has failed. The article discusses this phenomenon in general, but it’s relevant because First Amendment opportunism has increasingly been seen in the copyright context over the past decade or so.
Copyright, Trespass, and the First Amendment: An Institutional Perspective, Lillian BeVier (2004) — Approaches the question of First Amendment and copyright law by analogizing to trespass law. Excellent insights.
Reason or Madness: A Defense of Copyright’s Growing Pains, Marc Greenberg (2007) — “Has the scope of copyright’s growth been reasonable, or are its restrictions madness, and harmful to the development and distribution of art? This article explores the seven leading criticisms leveled against copyright’s expansion.
Copyright Today and Tomorrow
Youth, Creativity, and Copyright in the Digital Age, Palfrey, Gasser, Simun & Barnes (2010) — Presents qualitative research on the attitudes and knowledge of students relating to copyright.
Plagiarism, Norms, and the Limits of Theft Law: Some Observations on the Use of Criminal Sanctions in Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights, Stuart P. Green (2002). Explores question such as, “What exactly is it that the plagiarist steals, and is this the sort of thing that the law of theft is meant to protect?”
Criminal Copyright Infringement, I. Trotter Hardy (2002). Discusses recent trends toward criminalizing copyright infringement and asks, “Is copyright infringement becoming a new ‘white-collar crime?’”
Copyright, Complexity and Cultural Diversity: A Skeptic’s View, Michal Shur-Ofry (2011) — Contrary to popular belief, reducing the strength of copyright protection would not lead to broader, more diverse artistic and cultural works.
Regulatory Copyright, Joseph P. Liu (2004). Examines the trend in US copyright law from “judicially-administered, industry-neutral property rights regime” to legislatively-administered, complex and industry-specific regulatory regime.
In Defense of Copyright: Creativity, Record Labels, and the Future of Music, Brian Day (2011) — Explores the continuing role of the record label business model in a world where “artists are fully capable of recording, promoting, and licensing their own music.”