Saturday, February 9, 2013
Choosing whether to include any IP in a first-year Property course is an annual dilemma for me. I suspect that for many of us Property profs, IP topics are outside our comfort zone. I know a little about patents, a little more about copyright, a little less about trademark. If something has to be cut -- and something always does -- then it is easy for me to cut IP. I don't have to worry about what I don't know.
On the other hand, if there is one property issue young law students are likely to be interested in, it is IP, and especially copyright. They live in a world of changing copyright boundaries, where sampling and mashing are celebrated, file-sharing is illegal but common place, and collaborating without attribution is a daily event on twitter but could get you expelled in law school.
Profs can take what I think of as the Dukeminier approach: treat IP as just an example of obtaining first rights, akin to colonizing a continent, and move on without getting into the particulars of actual IP law. I've done that, but it seems like a cop out to me. These days, I either teach some IP or I don't. Usually, I don't. Probably, I should.
What do you do?
Mark A. Edwards