Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cardozo Professor Justin Hughes on music issues in the 2008 campaign

Professor Justin Hughes of Cardozo Law School has posted a new article on a topic that's near and dear to my heart: music copyright issues in the 2008 presidential campaign. Writes Hughes in "Election Copyright – They’re Playing Our Song":

Among all its other historic precedents, the 2008 presidential election provided an inordinate number of copyright disputes involving the candidates. To opponents of intellectual property, that will just be further proof that copyright is out of control, permeating our lives in ways that restrict both technological progress and freedom of expression.

Putting that rhetoric aside, what I find fascinating about the copyright disputes of the 2008 election cycle is how much they exemplify varied strengths and weaknesses of American copyright, how often copyright law is used to vindicate non-economic interests, and how often it is misunderstood and misapplied, even by lawyers.

Having handled several of the incidents Hughes describes in his article, I couldn't agree more. (While I have a few quibbles with Hughes' take on Browne v. McCain case, I'm not going to comment publicly on the merits, as it remains pending.)

Hughes promises, "This is the first in a series about copyright in the 2008 presidential campaign." I eagerly await the next installment.

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