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Case Analyses for Intellectual Property Law and New Media

Series:

Steven L. Baron, Edward Lee Lamoureux and Claire Stewart

This text is a companion to the 2 nd edition of Intellectual Property Law And New Media: Free for a Fee. Moving the coverage of case analysis to this separate volume, enables the authors to focus their attention on important trial and legal procedures that apply extant law to, largely, new circumstances.
Readers can focus on history and concepts while reading the main text, allowing them to bring understandings derived there to bear on the cases found in this analytic text. The approach offers relief from information overload and allows time and space to «shift gears» between concepts and cases. To aid understanding and learning, the authors provide focused interpretations and analysis throughout.
The coverage allows these books to serve as an excellent resource for undergraduates studying interactive media, as well as being a primer for first year IP law students, a handbook for entrepreneurs, a guidebook for general lawyers to assist in referrals, and an interesting read for those simply curious about the field.
The books are supplemented by freeforafee.com, a blog providing textual updates, online links to bibliographic materials, and extensive resource aggregation. Learning objectives for each chapter and a glossary of key terms are provided within the texts.
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Chapter One: Copyright Cases

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CHAPTER ONE

Copyright Cases



Traditional Media Copyright Cases with New Media Implications

Baker v. Selden, 101 U.S. 99 (1879).

Baker v. Selden, well prior to the Copyright Act of 1909, deals with the idea versus expression dichotomy in copyright law and the differences between copyrights and patents.

The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) in Baker v. Selden considered what aspects of Selden’s book relating to an improved bookkeeping system could be protected by copyright. Selden’s book contained mostly bookkeeping forms and descriptions of how to use the new bookkeeping system. The case involved an attempt to keep Baker from selling a book describing a similar system. The Court held that, although copyright law granted Selden the right to prevent others from printing or publishing any material part or his entire book, the system that Selden devised was merely an idea and therefore not subject to copyright protection. The specific layout and presentation of Selden’s book was subject to copyright protection, but Baker was not copying the text or presentation from Selden.

The Court went on to distinguish copyright and patent laws. The particular description of the system itself (the expression of ideas) can be protected by ← 1 | 2 → copyright, but not the abstract idea of the method or system—inventions, if they qualify, are protected by patent.

Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201 (1954).

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