Current Issue

Volume 16

Copyrighted Crimes: The Copyrightability of Illegal Works

Eldar Haber
16 Yale J.L. & Tech. 454

Copyright law does not explicitly impose content-based restrictions on the copyrightability of works. As long as a work is original and fixed in a tangible medium of expression, it is entitled to copyright protection and eligible for registration, regardless of its content. Thus, child pornography, snuff films or any other original works of authorship that involve criminal activities are copyrightable. Such work can be highly profitable for its makers even though society does not necessarily benefit from, and might even be harmed by, the work.

Consent, User Reliance, and Fair Use

Kevin J. Hickey
16 Yale J.L. & Tech. 397

This Article examines the underappreciated role of consent and refusal in copyright law’s fair use inquiry. As a matter of black letter law, the nature and circumstances of a copyright holder’s refusal to consent to a use are irrelevant to whether a particular use is fair. This “standard view” effectively treats all situations short of affirmative consent—such as silence or acquiescence from a copyright holder—as equivalent to an express refusal.

The New Model of Interest Group Representation in Patent Law

Rachel Sachs
16 Yale J.L. & Tech. 344

Traditional public choice theory postulates that interest group representation is primarily responsible for the passage of legislation in a variety of areas. Intellectual property scholars have largely embraced public choice theory as accurately explaining the enactment of intellectual property laws, agreeing both that the general assumptions of the public choice model are met and that specific statutes bear the scars of the interest group negotiation process. This Article contends that the reality of legislative enactment in patent law diverges from this conventional wisdom.

Do University Patents Pay Off? Evidence From a Survey of University Inventors in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering

Brian J. Love
16 Yale J.L. & Tech. 285

Studies of the costs and benefits of university patent ownership have, to date, focused on life sciences technology. Increasingly, however, many of the most lucrative university-owned patents relate to computing and telecommunications, not genes or pharmaceuticals. In 2007, a University of California spin-off named Eolas settled a patent suit with Microsoft for $100 million. In 2010, Cornell University won a $184 million jury verdict against Hewlett-Packard in a case that later settled on confidential terms.