Content Protection, Control, and Use in the Digital Age

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Saturday, June 20 — 9:00-10:15 am

Panelists: Lloyd Rich, Publishing Law Center; Jack Bernard, Associate General Counsel, University of Michigan

Established to provide “authors” exclusive rights in their “writings” for a "limited time" for the purpose of advancing the “Progress of Science,” copyright protection has evolved from the first copyright statute in 1790 to the Copyright Act of 1909 and the currently effective Copyright Act of 1976. Amendments to the Copyright Act of 1976 have also been subsequently implemented, and the meaning of the terms “authors”, “writings” and “limited time” have also evolved.

Because of the significant increase in the duration of copyright protection, many argue that the U.S. Copyright Act has undermined the original purpose of protecting an author’s work for a “limited time” for the purpose of advancing “knowledge”. In recent years, this has led to increasing advocacy for both “Free Content” (e.g., Creative Commons licenses) and “Open Access,” or free and unrestricted access to copyrighted content.

This program will discuss the (i) evolution of author, publisher and the public’s rights to the “writings” of “authors”, (ii) public domain, (iii) orphan works and (iv) pro and con regarding the Open Access and Free Content movements, with perspectives from both inside and outside academe.

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