Copyright’s Twilight Zone: Digital Copyright Lessons from the Vampire Blogosphere

44 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2010 Last revised: 4 Feb 2015

See all articles by Jacqueline D. Lipton

Jacqueline D. Lipton

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law

Date Written: April 28, 2010


Web 2.0 technologies, characterized by user-generated content, raise new challenges for copyright law. Online interactions involving reproductions of copyrighted works in blogs, online fan fiction, and online social networks do not comfortably fit existing copyright paradigms. It is unclear whether participants in Web 2.0 forums are creating derivative works, making legitimate fair uses of copyright works, or engaging in acts of digital copyright piracy and plagiarism. As online conduct becomes more interactive, copyright laws are less effective in creating clear signals about proscribed conduct. This article examines the application of copyright law to Web 2.0 technologies. It suggests that social norms must take on greater significance because of the community-oriented nature of much of today’s online conduct. Social norms are significant both as a form of social regulation and because they can guide law and policy makers about appropriate new directions for copyright law reform. This article focuses on four case studies involving the popular Twilight book and movie franchise. These case studies illuminate the relationship between copyright norms and laws in the Web 2.0 context. The author draws lessons from the case studies that might inform future developments in copyright law and policy that would better align laws with expectations of Web 2.0 participants. Twilight is chosen as the focal point because of the complex online relationships that have developed in recent years between the various copyright stakeholders: the book author; movie directors; producers and distributors of the books and movies; actors and production crews; and, the fans.

Keywords: Web 2.0, User Generated Content, Copyright, Derivative Works, Fair Use, Digital Copyright Piracy, Plagiarism, Social Norms

JEL Classification: K11, K33, K49

Suggested Citation

Lipton, Jacqueline Deborah, Copyright’s Twilight Zone: Digital Copyright Lessons from the Vampire Blogosphere (April 28, 2010). Maryland Law Review, Vol. 70, No. 1, 2010, Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-12, Available at SSRN:

Jacqueline Deborah Lipton (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-383-3207 (Phone)

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