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Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts


The relationship of copyright to new technologies that exploit copyrighted works is often perceived to pit copyright against progress. Historically, when copyright owners seek to eliminate a new kind of dissemination, and when courts do not deem that dissemination harmful to copyright owners, courts decline to find infringement. However, when owners seek instead to participate in and be paid for the new modes of exploitation, the courts, and Congress, appear more favorable to copyright control over that new market. Today, the courts and Congress regard the unlicensed distribution of works over the Internet as impairing copyright owners' ability to avail themselves of new markets for digital communication of works; they accord control over those markets to copyright owners in order to promote wide dissemination. Copyright control by authors, particularly those excluded by traditional intermediary-controlled distribution systems, may offer the public an increased quantity and variety of works of authorship.