Postgraduate Modules

Module Overview

Copyright and the Information Society

This module is now closed for applications

Copyright has real-life impacts on society. This is especially so with regards to copyright protection of rights to material usually disseminated digitally, such as music, videos, video-games, animation and digital film. The issue of illegal downloads of digital works is extremely topical, with controversial anti-piracy measures the topic of much debate and discussion. The economic implications are not just for individual copyright owners, but also for national economies in the potential loss of tax revenues for governments due to copyright infringing activities.

'The information society' refers to the advent of digital copyright and the Internet, and the fundamental ways in which they have radically affected the traditional notion of copyright. These include the ease and speed with which copying of protected works is accomplished in the digital environment, and the inherent difficulty of enforcing copyright laws and protect the creative industry.

The module will deal with the inherent tensions between copyright protection and access, especially in the digital environment, and the constant balancing act that copyright law is confronted with.

Course Outline

  • Conceptual and historical analyses of copyright.
  • Copyright as a primer for innovation and creativity.
  • Categories of copyright works: literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, sound recordings, broadcast, film, etc.
  • Originality and copyright.
  • Database protection.
  • Copyright protection for computer programs.
  • Copyright monopoly and limitations.
  • Digital copyright and technological protection measures.
  • Collecting society & copyright licensing.
  • Copyright infringement and remedies.
  • Defences to copyright infringement.
  • Copyright law and policy on the challenges of balancing ownership and access rights in the digital environment.
  • Copyright and human rights.
  • Creative Commons licence and alternatives to copyright.