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.
1. Unpublished Public Domain Project
The first entry always seems to be the hardest to write. I've been blogging at typepad this summer on academic copyright issues (http://academiccopyrighgt.typepad.com). I plan to continue doing that over here. Here are a few things I hope to do with this blog.
(I am having trouble with saving extended entries for some reason, so I am posting each of the four areas in individual entries.)
I came to the topic of copyright within an academic setting from my own doctoral work, initially a biography, which has subsequently turned into a comparative generational biography of the Great War generation. It was the 1990s, when the courts were looking at fair use and biography. I suddenly saw copyright issues everywhere—in research choices and in classroom and websites for teaching purposes. I wanted to know more. I wanted to understand the parameters of copyright law that might affect my daily choices.
Welcome! I am very excited to be beginning this non-residential fellowship at CIS. I am in the process of transferring my blog over here and should be up and running by the weekend. For now, go to http://academiccopryight.typepad.com.
"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.”