Self-Paced Study


The lecturesreading materialsmaps, and recordings that have been developed for CopyrightX are licensed under a Creative Commons License, the terms of which are available on the Permission pageStudents and teachers are encouraged to make use of the CopyrightX materials in other settings. For instance, the materials could be used for independent learning, in a study group, or to augment an existing course on copyright. 

Developing your own course of study

Should you choose to develop your own course of study, there are a number of paths you might follow.  If your goal is to acquire a basic understanding of copyright law in the United States, you should watch the recordings of the nine lectures that focus on legal doctrine.  Those lectures are:

  • #1:  The Foundations of Copyright Law
  • #3:  The Subject Matter of Copyright
  • #5:  Authorship
  • #6:  The Mechanics of Copyright
  • #7:  The Rights to Reproduce and Modify
  • #8:  The Rights to Distribute, Perform, and Display
  • #9:  Fair Use
  • #11:  Supplements to Copyright: Secondary Liability and Para-copyright
  • #12:  Remedies

Each of these lectures is roughly 90 minutes long.  Pursuit of this approach would thus require roughly 14 hours of your time.  A note of caution:  The lectures are dense.  If you watch more than one a day, you are unlikely to retain all of the information they contain.

If you want, in addition, to acquire the tools necessary to evaluate the copyright system and to help shape its trajectory, you should also watch the recordings of the three lectures devoted to copyright theory:

  • #2:  Fairness and Personality Theories
  • #4:  Welfare Theory
  • #10:  Cultural Theory

You will find that the lectures fit together best if you watch them in the order in which they were originally recorded.  In other words, don’t watch all of the doctrinal lectures and then all of the theoretical lectures.  Instead, adhere to the sequence indicated by their numbers.

Your understanding of the arguments and themes summarized in the lectures will be much enhanced if, in addition, you read some of the judicial opinions and essays that accompany those lectures.  A good selection of those opinions and essays is set forth in the syllabus used by the online sections for CopyrightX.  If you have more time and interest, you should read all of the materials assigned in the Harvard Law School course on Copyright.  Finally, if you wish to compare copyright law in the United States with copyright law in another jurisdiction, you should consider using one of the syllabi for the affiliated courses.

If you are interested in the ways in which copyright law affects — and is affected by — the customs and practices of various fields of art and commerce, you may wish to watch the recordings of some of the Special Events.

Hosted by:

Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School Harvard Law School