Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Network Neutrality in 1992

I've been remiss in blogging of late; I had a really busy summer and beginning of Fall. I have a bit more time now and hope to resume some blogging about papers and cases shortly. In the meantime, it doesn't take long to write a post about your own work, so I figured it would be an easy way to (re)break the ice.

I've written an essay with a former student, Christie Larochelle, who is now clerking in Delaware (she was a tenured physics professor before attending law school). As part of a hometown symposium for the Villanova Law Review's 60th anniversary, we tackled an interesting topic: rumblings about network neutrality at the birth of the commercial internet. More on the article and on coauthoring after the jump.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sandeen and Seaman: Toward a Federal Jurisprudence of Trade Secret Law

If you're interested in the fate of trade secrets law, and you like conflicts of law, I recommend taking a look at Sharon Sandeen and Chris Seaman's paper, Toward a Federal Jurisprudence of Trade Secret Law, when it comes out. As we know, Congress has now passed a federal civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation: the Defend Trade Secret Act of 2016 (DTSA). For the first time, civil trade secret plaintiffs can choose to sue under federal law. But the DTSA leaves courts with some major interpretive challenges. This is the subject of Sandeen and Seaman's project. I was fortunate to get a glimpse at the IP Scholars trade secrets panel last month.  Read more at the jump.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Mark Rose: The Authors and their Personalities that Shaped Copyright Law

“Great cases like hard cases make bad law” said Justice Holmes at the turn of the twentieth century. By contrast in copyright law, complex personalities and facts seem to allow the law to work itself pure. That seems to be the principal takeaway from Mark Rose’s illuminating new book Authors in Court: Scenes from the Theater of Copyright.

A literary historian of copyright whose prior book is considered a seminal contribution to the field, Rose sets out in Authors in Court to tell the story behind several of copyright’s leading cases through an investigation of the personalities that prompted the dispute and its eventual resolution. The book’s main chapters each tell the story of a major copyright case that is today part of the copyright canon: Pope v. Curll, Stowe v. Thomas, Burrow-Giles v. Sarony, Nichols v. Universal, Salinger v. Random House, and Rogers v. Koons. Some of these cases (e.g., Nichols, Koons) continue to be cited by courts to this day.

Rich in detail, and lucidly written, each chapter showcases what the idea of “authorship” meant to the protagonists in each dispute and the range of values and influences that motivated the construct. To some, it involved the maintenance and policing of their public personae (e.g. Pope), to others it involved balancing the conflation of art and value (e.g. Sarony), and to yet others it involved melding authorship with narratives of honesty and authenticity. Rose does an excellent job of bringing to life the colorful personalities that initiated these famed copyright disputes.

Introducing New Blogger: Shyam Balganesh

I am very pleased to welcome Professor Shyam Balganesh as a new Written Description blogger. He is a Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he is also a Co-Director of the Center for Technology, Innovation & Competition (CTIC). His scholarship focuses on understanding how copyright law and intellectual property can benefit from the use of ideas, concepts and structures from different areas of the common law, especially private law. His article Causing Copyright (forthcoming in the Columbia Law Review) was featured on this blog in March, and Foreseeability and Copyright Incentives (published in the Harvard Law Review) is one of the most cited IP articles. I look forward to reading his contributions to Written Description!