I have now been a non-resident fellow at CIS since 2004. My work currently looks at copyright duration in a comparative and international context, and with the help of my brilliant students at Tulane, we are building a software tool --the Durationator -- to make usable the past once more. We hope to have it complete and available for use sometime in the Fall 2008.
Legal and Policy Responses to the Disappearing "Teacher Exception" or Copyright Ownership in the 21st Century University, 4 MINN. INTELL. PROP. REV. 209 (2003) (available at mipr.umn.edu/archive/v4n2/townsend.pdf)
This article expores the historical changes in the presumption that teacher's own their copyrighted materials. It also gives specific suggestions on how teachers can retain copyright, if that is something they are concerned about.
I have posted at http://academiccopyright.typepad.com some thoughts on the availability of copyright information and archival materials -- three different models. I am still having trouble on this blog getting materials to save and publish. Sorry for sending everyone to a different blog.
"Townsend-Gard dreams of a world where librarians and researchers and students don’t have to waste time on copyright determinations. “I really believe that copyright should be more like electricity, where you don’t have to figure out how it’s made,” she says. You should just be able to hit a button and get your answer."
""We get questions all the time about, 'Can you help me with my patent?' But we couldn't until we got certification," said Elizabeth Townsend Gard, a Tulane Law School faculty member and co-director of the Tulane Center for IP, Media & Culture.
Townsend Gard said in each of the past three years, her intellectual property class has done about 100 trademark searches for people.
"“It turns out there’s a lot of weird questions that come up,” Townsend Gard says. The substitution of a comma for a colon in a book’s title can be enough to skew the results. “That the data is that picky is a problem.”"
The song “Happy Birthday” has a long, litigious history dating back to the 1930s. Every year, people spent millions in royalties to use the song, until a class action lawsuit was brought challenging whether the owner, Warner/Chappell Music, actually owned the copyright it so aggressively enforced. Elizabeth Townsend-Gard, Tulane School of Law professor specializing in copyright law, discusses the case of “Happy Birthday.”