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Archived updates for Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Dissemination Regulation in Copyright Law

According to a paper by Tim Wu, entitled "Copyright's Communications Policy"

There is something for everyone to dislike about early twenty-first century copyright. Owners of content say that newer and better technologies have made it too easy to pirate. Easy copying, they say, threatens the basic incentive to create new works; new rights and remedies are needed to restore the balance.

Academic critics instead complain that a growing copyright give content owners dangerous levels of control over expressive works. In one version of this argument, this growth threatens the creativity and progress that copyright is supposed to foster; in another, it represents an "enclosure movement" that threatens basic freedoms of expression.

But he sees the main challenge for 21st century copyright as not one of authorship policy, but rather copyright?s less understood role in the regulating competition among rival disseminators. The authorship
regime is the familiar system, run by the courts, that grants exclusive rights to encourage creativity. It is the messier regulatory regime, on the other hand, which includes those sections of copyright that have always perplexed copyright theorists. It largely takes the form of industry-specific liability rules, court-created immunities, and special accommodations have that have never fit the central theme of author-incentives.
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