Copyright, Copyleft, and the Future of the Publishing Industry

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Overview: We’ll take a brief look at the origins of copyright law, its present state, and recent developments in the concept of “intellectual property.” We’ll explore some dangers, pitfalls, and misconceptions, but also ways writers can use emerging copyright tools and technologies to their advantage. Finally, we’ll step back and consider the larger trends and shifts in the publishing industry that have the potential to leave established institutions in obscurity, while elevating to prominence writers who are prepared for publishing in the 21st century.

  1. Introduction
    • Happy Birthday
    • Creative Writing Game
    • How Do I Copyright Something and What's that Worth?
  2. Brief History of Copyright
    • Pre-Gutenberg
      • High Cost of Photocopiers (slaves)
      • Author's Curse in Revelations
    • Gutenberg Era (1439+)
      • Cost of Printing Press favored publishers over authors
      • Common Law Copyright (called "monopolies") lasted forever
      • Statute of Anne 1779 designed to protect authors from publishers (14-28yr term)
      • US Copyright Law:
-Copyright Act of 1790 - established U.S. copyright with term of 14 years with 14-year renewal
-Copyright Act of 1909 - extended term to 28 years with 28-year renewal
-Copyright Act of 1976 - extended term to either 75 years or life of author plus 50 years, eliminated renewal option and registration requirement
-Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988 - established copyrights of U.S. works in Berne Convention countries
-Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA) of 1994 - restored U.S. copyright for certain foreign works
-Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 - extended terms to 95/120 years or life plus 70 years
-Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 - criminalized some cases of copyright infringement
-Family Entertainment and Copyright Act of 2005 - criminalized more cases of copyright infringement, permitted technology to "sanitize" works
  • Recordings & Airwaves
  • Information Age
  1. Present State of Copyright
    • Infringement Nation
  2. Recent Developments & Promising New Tools
    • Open Source Movement & Web 2.0
    • Creative Commons
    • Self-Publishing Movement
      • Borders Books Partners with Lulu
    • Harper Collins
    • Harvard University
    • Tor Books (website)
  3. State of the Publishing Industry