9 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2009
Date Written: September 4, 2009
In this short essay, a comment on Rebecca Tushnet’s Payment in Credit: Copyright Law and Subcultural Creativity, 70 Law & Contemporary Problems 133 (2007), I argue that scholars have undervalued the copyright interests of readers, listeners and viewers. Contemporary scholarship ignores the central importance of audience interests in the copyright scheme; it treats the question of whether a use of copyrighted material should be lawful almost entirely by adopting the viewpoint of the copyright owner. Yet a copyright law designed to encourage creativity in the production and dissemination of works of authorship should also encourage creativity in the works’ enjoyment. Copyright experts have focused so much attention on giving copyright owners tools to prevent infringement that we have lost sight of the need to maintain historical copyright liberties that have traditionally given readers, listeners, and viewers the freedom to enjoy works of authorship.
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