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New technology, new media, new markets: The continuing importance of contract and copyright

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Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose1

With the advent of the Internet, content is available at almost all times in almost all formats. The scope of what may be used is determined by contract, a fact that has not been appreciated well by all parties. This is not a new phenomenon. It has been going on since parties have licensed rights to one another for dramatic plays and motion pictures. Yet, amazingly, it continues to be an issue with ‘new uses’ and the ‘new technology.’ This paper will look at disputes related to television, motion pictures, newspapers, musical compositions, magazine articles, and books. It asks what is a ‘revision,’ what is a ‘new market,’ and when is a new clause or contract required? With ‘eBooks’ not being considered ‘in book form’ as was held in Random House v. Rosetta Books, contract language is of utmost importance to all parties in order to know who has which rights and who may commercialize content.

Keywords: contract; copyright; e-book; electronic rights; new technology; new use; revision

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Professor of Law,Georgia State University College of Law, 140 Decatur St.Atlanta,GA,30303, USA

Publication date: 2012-11-01

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