CCTP-709-01 Intellectual Property (Who Owns Ideas?)
Fall for 2016-2017

Intellectual property permeates all aspects of modern life – the products we consume, the media we experience, the technology we use. Is it illegal to burn a CD for your friend? Who owns the pictures on your Facebook and MySpace profile? Are you really bound by those long agreements you don’t read before you clicked “I Accept”? Are music downloads illegal? Are we a nation of felons?

The concept of “intellectual property” reflects modern society’s embrace of the counter-intuitive idea that we can promote the diffusion of knowledge, creativity, and innovation by temporarily restricting the use of ideas, expressions, and discoveries.

Yet notwithstanding the pervasive effect of IP on our information-driven society, it is frequently misunderstood. This course will explore the means and ends of the modern IP system, analyzing how IP rights function, and how they influence new technology and contemporary culture. We will explore the major species of IP: copyright, trademark, and patent, with emphasis on the mutual challenges that copyright and digital technology pose to each other. Specific subjects explored will include: internet file-sharing, online copyright infringement, and digital rights management (DRM); the significance of copyright “fair use” in a networked age; “orphaned” copyrighted works; software and business method patents; disputes over internet domain names, and others. This course aims to familiarize students with the nature of the modern IP system and acquaint them with a variety of IP issues that may confront communications, media, technology, and policy professionals.

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None

Course syllabi
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Spring '17: Schruers M (web site, description, file download)
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