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Copyright and Culture

ENGL 566.940
instructor(s):

Copyright is the law of art, originality, and monopolies on expression. In this course, we will look at the history of copyright law and explore the ways that copyright has both responded to new media and driven art and entertainment. How, for example, is a new medium (photography, film, etc.) defined in relation to existing media? What constitutes originality in collage painting, revisionist novels, or rap music? When is it fair use to "Happy Birthday" or quote from a text? And how have artists and creative industries responded to various changes in copyright law? A major focus of the course will be the lessons of history for the current copyright debates over file sharing, the public domain, and other laws that determine the way we experience and create culture.