Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Fall Semester, 2010
MIT 6.805/STS085: Ethics and Law on the Electronic
Preparation for week of class on November 15
Today's class will be an introduction to copyright law.
Read the following before class:
Balance Toppled, chapter 6 of Blown to Bits, by Hal Abelson, Ken
Ledeen, and Harry Lewis. This chapter from Hal's book
describes, for a general audience, some of controversies around
copyright and the web.
- Find a copy of the U.S. copyright statute — Title 17 USC.
Note that the entire statute is almost 300 pages long!
Read the following sections:
- Sections 102 and 106 on the scope of copyright
- Sections 107 on fair use
- Section 1201: the anti-circumvention provisions enacted by the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
- Section 512: the DMCA safe harbor, and "notice and take-down" provisions
- The 1891 case from the Colorado Supreme Court,
Strickler v. City of Colorado Springs (16 Colo. 61; 26 P.
313; 1891 Colo. LEXIS 158). This deals with the rights of a landowner
to water flowing through his property — so-called riparian
rights. It raises basic issues of what property is and serves
as a useful foil to our discussion of intellectual property policy.
Just skim this.
- Read the Supreme Court case Baker
v. Selden, 101 U.S. 99 (1879), in which the Court ruled that
describing a system of accounting in a textbook did not confer
copyright protection on the system itself. This is a major precedent
in copyright law concerning the idea/expression doctrine.
- Read the Supreme Court ruling in Sony
Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, and brief
the case. The brief is for you, not for turning in. But you'll need
the brief in order to participate in the class. LATE
CORRECTION: Just skim Sony for this week, but you
needn't brief it. The brief will be for next week.