Day Two - Copyright @ 300: Looking Back at the Statute of Anne and Looking Forward to Challenges of the Future

By TAP Staff Blogger

Posted on June 10, 2010


By Tara Wheatland, Copyright Research Fellow, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology at Berkeley Law School.

Read a summary of Day 1’s panels.

Reproduction of the bill of complaint in Tonson v. Baker (July 8, 1710).
The National Archives, London


Kicking off the second day of the conference was a keynote address by Marybeth Peters, the U.S. Register of Copyrights, addressing some of the challenges facing copyright law, lawyers, and lawmakers—both in continuing to make the copyright law function effectively today, and in thinking about ways to reform the copyright law in the future.

  • Keynote mp3
  • Introduction: Kate Spelman, Copyright Society of the USA; Cobalt LLP
  • Speaker: Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights, U.S. Copyright Office

Formalities, Duration, and the Public Domain.  Presenters on this panel addressed a number of related topics, including how works have historically become “copyrighted,” for what period of time works qualify for copyright protection, and what happens to works that are not, or are no longer, protected by copyright law.  Professor Carla Hesse from the History department at UC Berkeley explored the origins of the registration requirement as something of even greater concern to copyright law and its predecessors than the prevention of unauthorized copying.  Professor Elizabeth Townsend-Gard of Tulane University Law School gave an overview of an ambitious project called the Durationator, a web-based software program which will allow users determine the copyright status of a work by answering a series of questions about the work and its author.  The complexity of this project speaks volumes about the complexity of formalities themselves throughout the history of copyright law.  Professor Jim Gibson of the University of Richmond School of Law explored the dual functions of formalities in copyright law—as providing a threshold for copyright protection, and as providing information about works afforded copyright protection which will be useful during and beyond the term of copyright protection—and suggested that it might be desirable to decouple these functions.  Jule Sigall, Associate General Counsel for Copyright at Microsoft, Inc., elucidated five “realities about formalities” and suggested that attention to these realities might be helpful to those who wish to make a stronger case for the re-institution of such processes.

  • Panel mp3
  • Anne Peck, Cooley Godward Cronish LLP (moderator)
  • Carla Hesse, University of California, Berkeley
  • Elizabeth Townsend-Gard, Tulane University Law School
  • Jim Gibson, University of Richmond School of Law - pdf
  • Jule Sigall, Microsoft, Inc. - pdf

Remedies and Enforcement in Historical Perspective.  This panel’s presentations centered around the topics of enforcing rights in a protected work, and obtaining remedies when such rights are infringed, from both a historical and a global perspective.  Professor Tomas Gomez-Arostegui from Lewis & Clark Law School presented his in-depth historical research on the 1710 English case of Tonson v. Baker, the first copyright suit in the Statute of Anne.  Professor Gomez-Arostegui’s presentation was illustrated with many original documents, including the original complaint in Tonson and a life-size reproduction of the Statute of Anne itself.  Michael Traynor, President Emeritus of the American Law Institute, made a case for the expansion of U.S. law to provide a right of attribution, and addressed some of the remedial questions which would be raised by such a rule.  Professor Daniel Gervais from the Vanderbilt University Law School described the ever-increasing focus on remedies and enforcement in the negotiation of international multilateral copyright agreements, from the Berne Convention, to the TRIPS agreement, and now with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).  Professor Tyler Ochoa, hailing from our co-sponsoring institution the Santa Clara University Law School, traced the geographic scope of the copyright laws from the Statute of Anne to the present U.S. law.

  • Panel mp3
  • Estelle Derclaye, University of Nottingham School of Law, BCLT Visiting Scholar (moderator)
  • Tomas Gomez-Arostegui, Lewis & Clark Law School
  • Michael Traynor, President Emeritus, American Law Institute
  • Daniel Gervais, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Tyler Ochoa, Santa Clara University Law School - pdf

Limitations & Exceptions, Consumer Protection, and Competition Policy.  Presenters next covered a number of limitations on copyright, both from within copyright law itself and from external sources. 

Read a full re-cap of this panel.

Looking Forward: What Challenges Does Copyright Face in the Twenty-First Century?  The final panel turned to the future of copyright law. 

Read a full re-cap of this panel.

Conference summary was written by Tara Wheatland. Ms. Wheatland is the Copyright Research Fellow, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology at Berkeley Law School.