Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2444779
 


 



Silent Similarity


Jessica Litman


University of Michigan Law School

August 1, 2014

14 Chicago-Kent J. Intellectual Property (2015, Forthcoming)
U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 412

Abstract:     
From 1909 to 1930, U.S. courts grappled with claims by authors of prose works claiming that works in a new art form – silent movies – had infringed their copyrights.  These cases laid the groundwork for much of modern copyright law, from their broad expansion of the reproduction right, to their puzzled grappling with the question how to compare works in dissimilar media, to their confusion over what sort of evidence should be relevant to show copyrightability, copying and infringement. Some of those cases – in particular, Nichols v. Universal Pictures – are canonical today.  They are not, however, well-understood.  In particular, the problem at the heart of most of these cases – how to imagine a work consisting entirely of pictures as infringing a work made entirely of words – has largely vanished from our consciousness.  A better understanding of these early cases casts into clearer light copyright doctrines and practices we take for granted today.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 44

Keywords: copyright, silent films, infringement, substantial similarity

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: June 4, 2014 ; Last revised: August 13, 2014

Suggested Citation

Litman, Jessica, Silent Similarity (August 1, 2014). 14 Chicago-Kent J. Intellectual Property (2015, Forthcoming); U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 412. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2444779 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2444779

Contact Information

Jessica Litman (Contact Author)
University of Michigan Law School ( email )
625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.umich.edu/~jdlitman
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 282
Downloads: 65
Download Rank: 203,464

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo1 in 0.375 seconds