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Tales of the Unintended in Copyright Law

Special Issue: Thinking and Rethinking Intellectual Property

ISBN: 978-1-78441-882-3, eISBN: 978-1-78441-881-6

ISSN: 1059-4337

Publication date: 14 August 2015


Copyright law has been oft-criticized for its unintended consequences. This paper retells three “tales of the unintended” concerning the 1976 Copyright Act, the present U.S. copyright statute. The first tale focuses on fair use, the second on statutory damages, and the third on formalities. From these three tales, the paper draws five different morals that provide insights into the ongoing process of copyright reform. These insights will enable policymakers and commentators to rethink the ongoing and future development of copyright law.




This paper was presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Author is grateful to Austin Sarat for inviting him to contribute to this special issue and to Bita Amani, William Gallagher, Llewellyn Gibbons, Li Jianyong, Rostam Neuwirth, Liam O’Melinn, the participants of this conference and an anonymous reviewer for their valuable comments and suggestions. He would like to thank Erin Cassidy and Lindsey Purdy for excellent research and editorial assistance.


Yu, P.K. (2015), "Tales of the Unintended in Copyright Law", Special Issue: Thinking and Rethinking Intellectual Property (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 67), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 1-24.



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Copyright © 2015 Peter K. Yu