> Nicolas Guggenberger on New trends in US Copyright law

Professor Dr Guggenberger is an external lecturer at ITM and gave a 90-minute webinar on “Current developments in US copyright law” as part of Professor Dr Hoeren’s lecture on copyright law on 12 July 2021. Professor Dr Guggenberger was a Junior Professor at ITM from 2016-2019, completed his LL.M. at Stanford, is the Executive Director of the Information Society Project and a Clinical Lecturer and Research Scholar at Yale Law School.

At the beginning of the lecture, Professor Dr. Guggenberger explained the background to U.S. copyright law by presenting the anchoring in the U.S. Constitution in Section 8, the purpose of copyright in U.S. law, the historical development based on the Copyright Act of 1790, and various theories on the necessity of copyright protection. Subsequently, the requirements for protection (quality requirement, independent creation, certain degree of creativity) as well as the specific requirements for the individual criteria of 17th U.S. Code § 102a) were presented. Professor Dr. Guggenberger explained the minimum requirements for a certain degree of creativity on the basis of the case Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co, 1991, in which the court denied a telephone directory the minimum requirement of creativity and thus protectability under 17 U.S. Code § 102a). Professor Dr. Guggenberger illustrated the list of works enumerated there, but not an exhaustive list, with current examples for the eager students and then showed the distinction between an idea and an expression under 17th U.S. Code § 102b). Furthermore, the special case of “work for hire” was discussed, where the copyright arises directly with the employer or with a client.
Subsequently, another significant difference between the German and the American legal system was presented: the legal provision “fair use” under 17th U.S. Code § 107, according to which copyrighted material may be re-used without the permission of the copyright owner under certain circumstances. The individual criteria for verifying fair use were presented and the individual requirements were explained in more detail using example cases. Professor Dr. Guggenberger concluded the lecture with the most recent copyright case, Google vs. Oracle (2020), by presenting the Supreme Court decision and its reasoning with regard to fair use.

We would like to thank Professor Dr. Guggenberger for the great and informative lecture.