American Corporate Copyright: A Brilliant, Uncoordinated Plan

9 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2005

See all articles by Paul J. Heald

Paul J. Heald

University of Illinois College of Law


This essay takes three quick looks at American copyright law through the eyes of an observer from an undeveloped economy. Look One focuses on Eldred v. Ashcroft and recent legislative initiatives that give the appearance that American copyright law is completely dominated by corporate interests. Look Two emphasizes the huge holes in American copyright law that allow users and competitors to engage in massive copying, e.g. fair use principles, the Altai and Feist tests, contributory liability and exhaustion rules, and various other statutory exceptions to liability. Look Three points out that these exceptions keep American consumers quiescent by keeping the cost of copyright protection here relatively low. This allows the U.S. government to pursue a TRIPS+/Berne+ worldwide copyright strategy without a hint of domestic interference. The essay concludes by suggesting what developing countries can learn from the U.S. approach.

Keywords: Copyright, Eldred, CTEA

JEL Classification: F1

Suggested Citation

Heald, Paul J., American Corporate Copyright: A Brilliant, Uncoordinated Plan. Journal of Intellectual Property Law, Vol. 12, p. 489, 2005, Available at SSRN:

Paul J. Heald (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
706-372-2567 (Phone)


Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics