FALL 2009

Copyright Law

Course No. 9200 703 (and 803) 001 , Course IDs 79436, 79944
MW 4:45-6:15 p.m.
Room W-215
Professor Jay Dratler, Jr.
Room 231D (IP Alcove)
(330) 972-7972
Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009   Jay Dratler, Jr.   For permission, see CMI.

Problems: Liability of YouTube and Google Book Project

1.  Skim Section 512; then go back and read subsections (a) through (d) and (i) through (n).  Reread subsections (a) through (d) carefully.  Make an outline of Section 512.  What is the purpose of the section?  Whom does it protect?  When does it apply, i.e., what is its "scope"?  To what sorts of activities does it apply?

2.  Visit the well-known video-file site YouTube.  Pretend that you are a copyright owner who believes that someone unknown has uploaded your copyrighted work to YouTube without permission.  What can you do?  Does YouTube provide a means for you to report a claim of copyright infringement?  If so, how?  What does YouTube promise to do in response to your claim?  Make a list of steps that you would take, using YouTube's site, to report alleged copyright infringement.  List also the steps that you would expect YouTube to take in response to your report.

3.  Now suppose that you represent a major copyright holder, such as the Comedy Channel.  Your client has complained that many of its copyrighted video files have appeared on YouTube without authorization.  What would you advise your client to do?  Would you advise it to sue YouTube/Google for copyright infringement?  to use YouTube's infringement-reporting service?  both?  neither?  If your client uses YouTube's reporting service as specified on the site, and if YouTube responds as promised or expected, will your client have a cause of action against YouTube for copyright infringement?  why or why not?  If your answer depends upon the facts, what specific facts would matter most, and how would they affect the result?

4.  Visit and browse through the Web pages of Google's Book Search Project, the proposed Amended Google Book Settlement, and the summary of the revisions made on November 13, 2009, in the Revised Google Book Settlement Agreement.  The project has various programs.  Some involve copyrighted books, and some involve books out of copyright.  Some involve authors' or publishers' permission, and some do not.  In each program, do you think the Settlement adequately protects the rights and interests of authors and their heirs or statutory successors?  How will the termination interests of authors and their heirs under Sections 203 and 304(c) affect the Settlement?

5.  In the absence of the Settlement, what copyright exposure would Google have?  Identify the program that you think involves the greatest copyright infringement exposure, and analyze precisely where and how the exposure occurs.  What specific acts of Google might be viewed as copyright infringement?  What possible defenses does Google have to a claim of infringement based on those acts?  How would you expect a court to resolve the claims and defenses?  based on what statutory provisions and what precedent?  If you represented Google, would you advise it to make any further changes to its Book Search Project or the Settlement in order to reduce its exposure to copyright infringement litigation by persons who opted out of the class action?  If so, what changes would you advise?  

    Please feel free to work through these problems in groups, or even in a "committee of the whole."  We will spend the entire last class discussing these problems.  The better prepared you are, the more interesting and beneficial the discussion will be.  We will also entertain any questions you may have on the course or copyright in general.
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