Intellectual Property, Public Domain, and Free Speech

This advanced seminar examines current debates concerning intellectual property, the public domain and free speech, focusing in particular on digital copyright. The goal is to look at issues of academic interest but also considerable practical importance surrounding a central question: how is the public interest defined and defended in formulating the balance between intellectual property and the public domain?

The class will begin by exploring tensions between intellectual property law and freedom of expression, as well as challenges posed by new technologies, in both the United States and European Union. The class will then cover case law and legislation in both the US and EU in two contentious areas of information regulation: database protection and digital copyright. The class will conclude with an examination of current cases, legislation, and debates, including the controversies surrounding peer-to-peer file sharing, user generated content, and video sharing sites such as YouTube.

Grades for the seminar will be based on class participation, Sakai postings, and a final paper.


*Please note that this information is for planning purposes only, and should not be relied upon for the schedule for a given semester. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.