University of Miami School of Law CourseLink Course Description - Online System
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Fall 2020

Course Description
Copyright is critical in today’s knowledge economy. It applies to paintings, movies, music, furniture design, maps, advertising copy, rock & roll, computer programs, dental procedure forms – and much more. There is virtually nothing to which copyright law is irrelevant – including the valuation of intellectual property assets in divorce. People realize this, but wonder what to do to "get" copyright protection; whether it’s okay to make a mash-up of prior artists’ works; how long their copyright protection lasts; and whether they can change their minds about a bad decision to transfer their copyright interests. They wonder what it takes to be deemed a copyright infringer, particularly as they download music or make cosplay costumes or write fan fiction, and if there are any defenses on which they can rely.

Copyright law also engages fundamental human conflicts: people who create things often say they want legal protection for their work, but also want to be able to use other people’s work, often preferably for free. Further complicating things is that sometimes they say that the legal rules have nothing to do with why they create. So copyright law makes us ask the question of what legal regime best promotes creativity. Both scholars and the general public discuss how to find the appropriate balance between authors' desires for property protection and the public's need for ample access to creative work products of all sorts. And everybody wonders how we’re supposed to define that balance.

This course will address the legal protection provided under the Copyright Act of 1976 (and subsequent amendments) for artistic, musical and literary works, and software. Topics will include copyrightability (what kinds of works are protected by copyright and what kinds are excluded); ownership and disposition of copyrights; infringement of the various rights in the copyright bundle (rights, inter alia, of reproduction, adaptation, public performance, public display); and fair use. Among other things, the course will attend to the application of copyright principles in the online environment. We will concern ourselves primarily with U.S. copyright law.

I’ll be teaching this class entirely online this fall, primarily using Zoom, with an emphasis on interactive and varied learning experiences.

Course Schedule
Dates Day Time Room
08-17-2020 - 11-17-2020   T  10:10 AM-11:50 AM DL

Course Frequency
This course is usually offered once every academic year

Course Information

Credits: 3
Pass/Fail Option: Yes
Method of Evaluation: Final Exam
Graduation Requirements Fulfilled By Course:
Special Attributes:
Distance Learning
Course Delivery:
Online (synchronous and asynchronous)
Special Restrictions:
Law Track(s):
Business & Taxation - Specialized
Entertainment, Music, & Sports - Basic
Intellectual Property - Basic
Bar Subject(s): None
The Business of Innovation, Law and Technology: BILT (Concentration)   More information
Course Book(s):
Textbook Required:
  • Textbook Name: Copyright Law: Cases and Materials
    Textbook Type: Paperback
    Requirement: Required
    Author: Jeanne C. Fromer and Christopher Jon Sprigman
    Publisher: Independently published
    Edition: v2.0
    ISBN: 979-8657721867

Additional Materials:
Note to students: You can download v2.0 for free, or you can purchase the book at a very reasonable price at the following website: Thank you.  
First Class Assignment(s):
  • Assignment: Welcome to Copyright!! For the first class (August 18th): 1) Please visit the class Blackboard page; 2) Please read the Course Information memo carefully; 3) Please read pages 1-16 of the Casebook; 4) Please respond to the questions posted on the Blackboard Discussion Forum PLEASE MAKE SURE to click on the Zoom Meeting Room button on our Copyright class Blackboard page to join the live class on Tuesdays this semester. Looking forward to seeing you all on Zoom on August 18th!

    You will be required to obtain 3 items for the course:

    1) The casebook is JEANNE C. FROMER & CHRISTOPHER JON SPRIGMAN, COPYRIGHT LAW: CASES AND MATERIALS V.2.0. This is an open source book, and you can download it for free from the book web page ( If you prefer to have a printed copy, the book website directs you to Amazon to purchase a low-cost (about $15) copy printed.

    2) You will need to have the U.S. Copyright Act (which you can download from, and to which the book website provides a link.)

    3) You will need to obtain the Copyright Office’s Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, available at (This too is available via a link on the book web page.)

    Copyright Fall 2020 First Day Assignment Memo.docx



Contact Information:
Phone: (305)284-2289
Office: G471