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T9677 Intellectual Property

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T9677 Intellectual Property

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T9677 Intellectual Property

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Course Code: T9677
University: University Of Dubai is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: United Arab Emirates


Discuss the historical aspects of copyright law in America. Cite examples.
What are the case facts, laws involved, holing of the court and court’s rationale in deciding the case the way it did?
Discuss which Fair Use concepts in the copyright law readings/assignments were most useful for you as you pursue your doctoral degree. Explain why they were useful to you and how they will be helpful to you in the future.


The basic principle in Copyright law is that authors should be rewarded on their creativity. Creative work involves things like music, books, art, designs and any other work that forms part of intellectual property. Copyright law ensures that authors are compensated for their time, efforts, and creativity. This paper aims to bring an understanding of American Copyright law. The paper would explore areas such as its history, application, importance and the concept of fair use.
History of Copyright Law in America
The first copyright law in the world was the Statute of Anne which was enacted in 1710 by the British Parliament (Nord, Rubin, & Schudson, 2009, p. 151). It was from this first Act that other countries started adopting the copyright provisions with the United States passing its first statute as the Copyright Act of 1790 (Das, 2015, p. 78). Due to multiple updates and two major revisions of 1976, this act was renamed as the Copyright Act of 1976.
Before then, the copyright laws in the U.S had obligations that the work must comply with some formalities such as copyright notice, registration, and renewal which were the conditions someone had to meet to gain copyright protection. With the development of the law, the requirements for a notice, renewal or registration have been dropped. There is also automatic copyright protection once someone creates an original work.
Importance of the Ruling in Kirtsaeng v John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 133 S Ct 1351 (2013)
Supap Kirtsaeng was an immigrant from Thailand to the United States. While studying in the US, Kirtsaeng imported books published by John Wiley in Thailand and started selling them in the US. Wiley then sued Kirtsaeng for infringement of copyright under Section 602(a)(1) in (Copyright Act, 1976). On the other hand, Kirtsaeng raised a defense under Section 109(a) in (Copyright Act, 1976).
The question before the Law
Whether a copy that has been legally made, acquired, and then imported into the US can be resold in the US without the owner’s copyright permission as provided in Section 602(a)(1) and Section 109(a) of the copyright act?
Importance of the case
By having non-geographic limits, the Act that permits unobstructed resale of copyrighted materials and goods irrespective of the manufacture’s location. Additionally, if there were limitations, such limitation can drastically harm businesses that sell used-books since the sellers would have to get authority from foreign copyright owners.
Application of Copyright Law in a Design Business
In the music industry, Copyright laws involve two rights. There is a right that protects musical composition, and the second one protects rights to recording (Halloran, 2017, p. 49). For musical composition, the law protects aspects of chords, musical notes, harmonies, lyrics, and rhythm. For recording, the law protects the actual “sound recording.” Unlike in other industries, Copyright law in music allows the two rights to be owned by two different persons. This happens when a songwriter owns the composition, and the recording company owns the sound recording rights. For example, in (Dolly, 1974) song, “I Will Always Love You.”, Dolly Parton owned the composition rights, while Whitney Houston owned recording rights when she recorded a version of the song.
In the United States, it is illegal for a musician to take any distinguishable part of another artist’s song. Such an act would constitute an infringement of the other artist’s Copyrights and will attract a suit for damages. For example, in (Williams v. Gaye, 2018), the Gaye sued Williams for copying Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up.” Gaye family was awarded 7.36 million dollars as damages.
The concept of Fair use in Copyright Law
There were four principles of fair use that were most useful for me. These principles are as follows;
This one looks at the purpose for which the material was copied and how it was used. Where the intention and use are for non-commercial purposes such as scholarship, commentaries, education, or research, the court would regard that as a fair use.  I regard this factor as important since it promotes research and development.
Where the nature of the copied material is for entertainment or mere information, the court would mostly regard it as fair use. In (Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 1984), the court stated that copying something like news broadcast could be more of a fair use than an infringement. This is to me as it promoted dissemination of ideas and information.
Where the work is as little as not more than 1%, the court would be likely to regard that as fair use. In (Wright v. Warner Books, Inc., 1991), the defendant was allowed to use the copied parts as they did not exceed 1%. The importance of this factor is that it allows students, scholars the public to build and expand the knowledge from the original author.
 This one looks at how the copied work affected the original owner. Again, where there is no effect on the original owner, that would be counted as fair use. In (Rogers v. Koons, 1991) a photograph adapted to a sculpture was taken to harm the market for the original work. This factor is important as it strikes a balance between the public use and financial gain of the original author.
This paper aimed to provide an understanding of the scope of American Copyright law. The paper has covered the history and development of the law by discussing one of the cases that clarified on the law regarding the doctrine of resale. The paper then discussed the law on fair use. 
Das, J. K. (2015). Law of Copyright (1st edition). Prentice-Hall of India Pvt.Ltd.
Dolly, P. (1974). I Will Always Love You.
Halloran, M. (2017). The Musician’s Business and Legal Guide (5 edition). New York?; London: Routledge.
Nord, D. P., Rubin, J. S., & Schudson, M. (Eds.). (2009). A History of the Book in America: Volume 5: The Enduring Book: Print Culture in Postwar America (New edition edition). Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.
Rogers v. Koons, 960 F. 2d 301 (Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit 1991).
Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 US (Supreme Court 1984).
Williams v. Gaye, 885 F. 3d (Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit 2018).
Wright v. Warner Books, Inc., 953 F. 2d 731 (Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit 1991).

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