• Art Crimes
• Art Law
• Computer Law Seminar
• Copyrights and New Media
• Entertainment Law
• Fair Use Seminar
• IP Licensing Practicum
• Internet Law
• IP Business Transactions
• IP Entrepreneurship Clinic
• Patent Prosecution
• Policy and Politics of the Information Society
• Sports Law
• Trademark Prosecution
• Unfair Trade Practices
From Giacomo Medici’s illicit trafficking to Adolph Hitler’s monumental looting, from the Gardner Museum heist to the Baghdad Museum pillage, works of art and antiquity (and their owners) have suffered at the hands of scoundrels perpetrating art crimes. Victims include individual art collectors, ethnic and religious groups, cultural institutions, and entire nations. This course explores the murky underworld of the art trade, where art theft, fraud, forgery, looting, art-napping, and other sordid crimes unfold. Students study legal protections and enforcement mechanisms that exist in the domestic and international realms to solve art crimes, catch the criminals, provide remedies to the victims, and seek to protect cultural treasures.
This course provides a thorough introduction to the growing area of legal practice known as art law. Students examine legal and ethical issues relating to the creation, discovery, ownership, transfer, and use of works of visual art, from the ancient to the contemporary. Stakeholders in this field are diverse: they include artists and their subjects, individual and corporate collectors, museums, dealers, auction houses, cultural institutions, treasure hunters, scholars, indigenous groups, sovereign nations, and the general public. Students examine, discuss, and debate applicable civil and criminal laws and regulations, case law, and international treaties and codes of ethics, as well as contracts and other documents used in the practice of art law.
Computer Law Seminar
This seminar allows participants to make an in-depth study of a particular substantive legal issue of their choice related to computer technology. Examples of such topics include problems involving computer-related transactions (hardware, software, or data), transactions occurring in an electronic environment, liability arising from such transactions, and the use of computer-related or -generated evidence at trial. Selection of a particular topic is with the assistance of the instructor. Upon completion of this course, the student will have demonstrated the ability to perform in-depth research and to communicate that research both orally and through a substantial paper, which satisfies the rigorous writing requirement.
Copyrights and New Media
Copyrights are a bundle of legal rights that help determine what can happen, and at whose direction, to content and information. In an economy that is largely driven by such content and information, copyright law is placed front and center. And yet, while technology has been advancing at exponential rates thanks to IP law, IP law itself has to run to catch up. And, when something runs to catch up, well, it might not have the most graceful stride. This course focuses on principles, law, and practice under the U.S. Copyright Act and on the application of traditional and modern copyright principles to new media. This course includes an introduction to basic copyright law, and considers the role of copyright law in current issues posed by technology, from multimedia materials and software to mash-ups, computer-generated works, and digital sampling.
Entertainment law involves an examination of basic legal concepts that govern transactions in the entertainment industry, including the constitutional protections of entertainment speech, the rights of individuals who restrict it, copyright fundamentals, contract issues peculiar to the field, and prevailing standards and practices of “the Business.”
Fair Use Seminar
Principles of fair use could impact whether or not one could make a mix CD, create pop art, play trivia games based on popular television shows, or upload a rocking “Eye of the Tiger” cover to YouTube. This course examines the application of fair use of others’ intellectual properties across the spectrum of human intellectual product, including, inter alia, literature, art, music, the internet, rights of publicity, politics, patents, and, perhaps, a few magic tricks. This seminar satisfies the rigorous writing requirement.
Intellectual Property Licensing Practicum
Licenses are the scaffolding of the information economy, whether they deal with downloading a song from iTunes or acquiring celebrity endorsement rights in a multi-million dollar deal. This course covers the relevant statutory and case law underpinnings of intellectual property licenses in various areas of intellectual property. In addition, the course considers licensing issues of particular relevance today, including open source software, website user agreements, and Creative Commons.
This course focuses on the transference (or lack of transference) of bricks-and-mortar legal principles to new methods of communication. It looks at recent developments in cyberspace law and provides a survey of legal issues on the internet, including both policy and pragmatic application of jurisdictional principles, intellectual property laws, privacy rights, computer crime, proprietary information, and freedom of speech issues, as well as a full-scale analysis and explication of the question, “Is Google really God?”.
IP Business Transactions
This course explores how intellectual property is used as a business asset by focusing on three issues: (1) the intellectual property portfolio; (2) licensing; and (3) employment/ownership. Classes are structured as presentations of basic legal materials in each of these areas. The student is expected to choose an entity (public company, private company, university, non-profit, or some other organization) and research the entity’s intellectual property portfolio. From the portfolio, the student is expected to pick one or two pieces of intellectual property and draft a sample license that takes account of licensing and employment issues. Students will present the intellectual property and licenses to the class for comment and constructive criticism.
IP Entrepreneurship Clinic
Working with a local nonprofit incubator for small businesses on a unique interdisciplinary project involving leading local universities, the Intellectual Property Entrepreneurship Clinic evaluates proprietary technologies, completes an audit, and drafts strategic plans for the protection of IP rights. This clinical course enables students to participate directly in the process of counseling and to engage in local entrepreneurship and economic development activities in the community.
This skills-based writing course introduces students to patent prosecution - the process of writing a patent application and prosecuting the application through the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Patent prosecution is a significant aspect of intellectual property, and this course seeks to develop students’ practical, analytical, and counseling skills in this area through a series of contextualized writing assignments. The course is taught using a case-file method, and the students draft several different kinds of documents, including a patentability opinion letter to a client, a patent application (including claims and a specification), and a response to an office action that has rejected an application. The course introduces students to the writing skills commonly used by patent attorneys on a daily basis. It satisfies the LARW III requirement.
Policy and Politics of the Information Society
This course explores complex interrelationships between technological, economic, cultural, political, and legal influences that shape the information society, through reading popular legal scholarship (Lessig, Balkin, Goldstein, Wu, etc.), as well as interdisciplinary works incorporating the social sciences, very light economics, and political science (Benkler, Zittrain, Shirky, Boyd, Sunstein, etc.). The course addresses the following broad areas: democratic culture and the networked public sphere; media and information policy; innovation policy, network access, and neutrality; content control; privacy and surveillance; and the political economy of information production.
Sports Law involves a thorough look at both the academic (eg, labor and antitrust) and practical (eg, contracts and agents) aspects of professional sports and the emerging field of sports law, including rules governing Olympic competition, the NCAA, and other amateur athletics.
This skills-based writing course introduces students to the practice of trademark prosecution, which is the process of registering trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Trademark prosecution is a significant aspect of a legal practice in intellectual property, and this course seeks to develop students’ practical, analytical, and counseling skills in this area through a series of contextualized writing assignments. The course is taught using a case-file method, spanning the procedure of trademark registration. Students counsel and assist a fictional client throughout the trademark registration process, including selection and clearance of marks, trademark applications, responses to Office Actions from the PTO, briefs in support of various motions before the PTO, and, eventually, an appeal before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Engaging in aspects of trademark practice in an environment free of the billable ties that bind will enable students to learn not just the mechanics, but the art of trademark prosecution, and to later apply those skills a thoughtful and considered way to the benefit of their clients. This course satisfies the LARW III requirement.
Unfair Trade Practices
This course involves a study of the private actions and available damages resulting from unfair competition or unfair trade practices. Primary concern is given to the topics of privilege to compete and tortuous interference with contracts, trademarks and trade names, imitation and counterfeiting of goods, the appropriation of trade secrets, confidential information and other business ideas, false advertising, product and competitor disparagement, and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
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