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Introduction to Intellectual Property

3.11 Copyright in a Changing World

Introduction to Intellectual Property3.11 Copyright in a Changing World

Learning Objectives

After completing this section, you will be able to

  • Understand how copyright law is showing signs of strain today.
  • Realize that it may very well need to adapt to an increasingly mobile world.

Comprehensive copyright reform may soon be on the horizon. On March 20, 2013, Register of Copyrights at the United States Copyright Office Maria A. Pallante testified before the House Judiciary Committee that the time had come for a comprehensive review and updating of the Copyright Act.

According to Pallante:

"The law is showing the strain of age and requires your attention. [People] increasingly are accessing content on mobile devices and fewer and fewer of them will need or desire the physical copies that were so central to the 19th and 20th century copyright laws."

The list of issues requiring attention is long, involving everything from copyright term and digital rights management restrictions on digital content to the legality of developing secondary resale markets for digital content as exist with traditional printed content.

The debates may be contentious, as they always are when intellectual property rights are involved. But U.S. copyright law has throughout our history demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt to new economic, social, and technological realities, and there is no reason to doubt that it will continue to do so.

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