since 1965  (really?)

The Politics of Piracy

This course listing applies to a Fall 2009 course. To find current courses, check out the Find a Course page.

Fall 2009
Information 198
1 Unit(s)



About the Course:

Thanks to the personal computer, copying is easier than ever—and consequently, the sphere of copyright is bigger than ever. College students are routinely sued into bankruptcy for petty downloading. An FBI warning precedes every feature film on DVD, reminding viewers that duplication is a federal crime for which violators are subject to imprisonment or fines up to $150,000. And thanks to statutorily protected Digital Rights Management schemes, copyright holders can limit legitimate uses of copyrighted works as they see fit. What is piracy? How does it affect the economy? Is there such a thing as “good” piracy? Over 57 million Americans have shared files on p2p networks— that’s more than the population of California and New York combined. Are all of these people pirates? Is it time to rethink our definition of piracy? How has the political environment in America contributed to stringent intellectual property protections? Students will be familiarized with the historical rationales and legal origins of copyright, the current debates surrounding it, and the implications of an old body of law adapting to a digital era. Should we look at the growing sphere of copyright as a public interest problem, or celebrate the expansion of creators’ rights? We’ll be doing some light reading, a lot of discussion, and some film viewings that relate to our discussions. We’ll also have some guest speakers come in to provide us with different perspectives.

How to Enroll:

Seats are filling up, but if you really want to get in, come to class and we'll see if there's room. Please read the syllabus and try to catch up with the reading if you are coming in late. All students (undergrad and grad) are welcome. Undergraduates with lower-division standing may need to fill out a form to receive credit, but it's just a formality.

Course Contact: mattsenate AT


Faculty Sponsor: Paul Duguid

Time & Location:

Matthew Senate
24 WheelerTu 5-6:309/01started

Uploaded Files:

debate_format.docOct 633kbWord Doc (Viewer)View Download
Syllabus: Piracy_Fall_09_Syllabus_9_22.docSep 2284kbWord Doc (Viewer)View Download
Course Material: student_trial_guide.docNov 1138kbWord Doc (Viewer)View Download
Miscellaneous: Approved_Reading_List.docSep 1106kbWord Doc (Viewer)View Download

Course info last modified September 11, 2009. This page has been viewed 1772 times.

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