“Some sheep are being treated like goats and the resulting mélange can satisfy no one except those who happen to profit from the confusion.” Benjamin Kaplan, Harvard Law Professor, on sound recording copyright, from Publication in Copyright Law: The Question of Phonograph Records, 103 U. Penn. L. Rev. 469 (1955). To be clear, what follows... Read More
When I was at the Copyright Office as Abraham L. Kaminstein Scholar in Residence, I happened to find the video below. Andy Johnson-Laird made it for the U.S. Copyright Office at some point shortly after the Mosaic web browser (the first one) was developed and the web began to take off, I’m estimating either in... Read More
The Music Modernization Act just passed the House as I’m writing this, and it seemed apropos to look at the origins of mechanical licensing in the 1909 Copyright Act. The story has been told before (although not in a dedicated article or book), but I’ve found a number of aspects of the story that I... Read More
This post brings together two separate but related topics – a relatively unknown resource about the Supreme Court, and light it shines on what I think were the main schools of thought on copyright in the late nineteenth century. Read on for more, including original scans of archival material.
As part of a symposium on forgotten cases in intellectual property with the Syracuse Law Review, I recently wrote a short history of the US Supreme Court’s 1879 decision in Perris v. Hexamer, entitled How Perris V. Hexamer Was Lost in the Shadow of Baker V. Selden. Perris is essentially forgotten today, but it has somewhat... Read More
Fred Waring and his allies launched a number of lawsuits in the 1930s to prevent radio stations from playing their record; this post presents scans of three such case files, including filings, evidence, transcripts, and legal briefs. Read the rest to learn more!