Copyright Law Syllabus — Eric Goldman

Copyright Law (Law 278.31)
Eric Goldman
Boalt Hall School of Law
Spring 2002

1.                  SESSIONS.  The class meets Tuesday afternoons from 3:10 to 4:50 between January 22 and April 30 in Boalt Hall room 105.  The class will not meet on March 26 due to Spring Break.  Also, there will be an optional review session to be held at the time/place scheduled by the school.

2.                  PREREQUISITES.  Introduction to Intellectual Property (Law 278.3) is recommended but not required.

3.                  CASEBOOK AND COVERAGE.  We will use Copyright Cases and Materials (6th edition) by Gorman and Ginsburg (ISBN 1-58778-375-4), along with the 2002 Statutory Appendix (ISBN 1-58778-372-X).  Make sure you get the right edition—the 6th edition has just been published.


Some subjects we won’t address in detail: 1909 Act formalities (including duration and copyright notice requirements); preemption; special rules regarding the government, libraries and educational institutions; importation; international treaties; maskworks; vessel hulls; and music issues and the Audio Home Recording Act.


4.                  FINAL EXAM.  The class is graded solely on the final exam, which probably will be 2 hours long with 2-3 essay questions and perhaps some short answer questions.  Pursuant to Academic Rule 3.02(D), the grades will be approximately 10% HH, 30% H, and the remainder P, PC or NC.

5.                  EMAIL.  I will occasionally send out class announcements and articles of interest to the email alias provided by the school.

6.                  OFFICE HOURS.  I will be available in room 455 from 2:30 to 3 each Tuesday before class.  Alternatively, we can arrange to meet at my Brisbane offices or on-campus earlier on Tuesday. Email is usually the best way to reach me; however, in particularly busy times, I may need a few days to respond.  Please note that I have another class in Santa Clara on Tuesday nights, so my time after class will be very limited.

7.                  JOBS.  If you are interested, we can meet to discuss your job searching efforts.  If you want to chat, email me your resume (in the text of the email, not as an attachment) and some proposed times when you can meet in my offices or during office hours.

8.                  CONTACT INFORMATION.


Eric Goldman

Epinions, Inc.

8000 Marina Blvd., 5th floor

Brisbane, CA  94005

Phone: (650) 616-6536

Fax: (650) 532-1269 x1379

Driving directions from Berkeley: 80W to 101S to Sierra Point Parkway.  At the end of the offramp, bear left and then go straight through the stop sign.  In a mile or so, you will go under the 101.  Then, 8000 Marina Blvd. is the 8 story building behind Hitachi.  Go to the 5th floor.


My personal website is at


January 22—Introduction and background on copyright law

  • Overview of copyright law—pages 38-49
  • Distinction from other IP doctrines (patents, trademarks, trade secrets, mask works, database rights, rights of publicity and privacy, trespass)
  • Purpose of copyrights—pages 14-29

Note: OMIT the rest of Chapter 1.

January 29 through February 12—What is copyrightable?

  • Originality—pages 75-83 and Sec. 102
  • Expression v. facts; expression v. ideas—pages 90-155 and 160-165, CDN v. Kapes, and Section 103
  • Computer software—pages 185-195 and Sec. 117
  • Pictorial, graphical and sculptural works (SKIM)—pages 195-226 and Sec. 113

Note: OMIT pages 83-90 (fixation), 155-160 (databases), 179-185 (CONTU), 226-258 (architectural works, characters, government works, copyright in porn)

February 19—Who owns a copyrighted work?

  • Ownership and works made for hire—pages 259-278 and 281-284 and Sec. 201(a) & (b)
  • Joint works—pages 284-297
  • Assignments—pages 297-306 and Secs. 202-205
  • Collective works—pages 325-335

Note: OMIT pages 278-281 (teacher exception) and 335-337 (transfer by operation of law)

February 26 to March 12—Benefits of ownership

  • Reproduction—pages 414-446, 463-480 and 491-498 and Secs. 106 and 501
  • Derivative works—pages 511-527 and 165-179
  • Moral rights—pages 527-543 and Sec. 106A
  • Distribution and first sale—pages 543-551
  • Perform and display—pages 559-570, 577-580 and Kelly v. Arriba
  • Rights in new media—pages 306-325

Note: OMIT pages 446-463 and 480-491 (more on similarity), 498-511(phonorecords), 551-559 (importation), 570-577 (musical performances) and 580-613 (digital performance and various exceptions)

March 19 to April 9—Fair use

Pages 614-717 and 722-748 and Sec. 107; also read Cook v. Robbins

Note: OMIT pages 717-722 (Sec. 108)

April 16—Fun topics #1

Limits on ownership

  • Duration—pages 342-343 and 349-350 and Sec. 302 (skip the rest of Chapter 4)
  • Misuse—pages 835-837


  • Copyright notices—pages 383-384 and Secs. 401-406
  • Deposit and registration—pages 407-412 and Secs. 407-412

(skip the rest of Chapter 5)

Special Types of Infringement

  • Criminal—pages 780-782 and Sec. 506 and 507(a)
  • Contributory and vicarious infringement—pages 782-806

April 23—Fun topics #2


Pages 749-772 and 776-780 and Secs. 502-505, 507(b), 509

(Skip pages 772-776 on the 11th amendment)


Pages 838-846 and Sec. 301

Anti-circumvention and copyright management information

Pages 806-835 and Secs. 1201-1205

April 30—Special issues, catch-up and closing

  • Protecting factual data
  • Drafting copyright licenses
  • The future of copyrights