Grading Basis: Graded
This seminar course will cover the development of intellectual property in the United States, including trade secrets, trademark, copyright, right of publicity, and patent law, from their early modern English origins until the current period. We will examine, among other subjects, a variety of topics: the importation and adaptation of common law norms, comparisons with European intellectual property systems, the creation of the Copyright and Patent clause in the United States Constitution, defining preemption, the judicial construction of fair use and the public domain, shifting definitions of subject matter, the response of law to new technologies and new modes of production, the emerging role of law in shaping public culture, United States responses to international intellectual property frameworks through bilateral treaties and multi-national conventions, public debates about the role of intellectual property as monopoly, the growth of celebrity, and the place of intellectual property in a digital age. Most of the readings will be secondary works, treatises, statutes, and cases. However, we will remain open to drawing upon innovative methods from cultural history, the new history of technology, the history of the book, literature’s new historicism, and the history of consumption and material culture.