CopyrightX is a twelve-week networked course that has been offered annually since 2013 under the auspices of Harvard Law School, the HarvardX distance-learning initiative, and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. The course will next be taught from January to May of 2021.
The course explores the current law of copyright; the impact of that law on art, entertainment, and industry; and the ongoing debates concerning how the law should be reformed. Through a combination of recorded lectures, assigned readings, weekly seminars, live interactive webcasts, and online discussions, participants in the course examine and assess the ways in which the copyright system seeks to stimulate and regulate creative expression.
The CopyrightX community has three components: (a) a residential course on Copyright Law, taught by Prof. William Fisher at Harvard Law School; (b) an online course divided into sections of 25 students (each section taught by a Harvard Teaching Fellow); and (c) a set of affiliated courses, most of which are based in countries other than the United States, each taught by an expert in copyright law.
- Jan. 28-30: Online Sections Commence
- March 18-20: Harvard Spring Break (Online sections will not meet.)
- April 22-24: Last Meeting of Online Sections
- May 5-9: Final Exam
In 2021, the affiliates will be:
- CopyrightX: American University in Cairo (AUC) (Cairo, Egypt)
- CopyrightX: Arikat Intellectual Property (Palestine)
- CopyrightX: Bocconi University (Milan, Italy)
- CopyrightX: Caribbean (Jamaica)
- CopyrightX: Centro Iberoamericano de Estudios Legales (Spain)
- CopyrightX: CODE-IP Trust (Nairobi, Kenya)
- CopyrightX: Copyright Institute of Uganda
- CopyrightX: CREATe Centre at the University of Glasgow
- CopyrightX: ILAC (Sofia, Bulgaria)
- CopyrightX: ITS (Institute for Technology & Society in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
- CopyrightX: Libraries (MIT)
- CopyrightX: NIALS (Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in Lagos, Nigeria)
- CopyrightX: NLUD (National Law University in Delhi, India)
- CopyrightX: Renmin (Renmin University in Beijing, China)
- CopyrightX: The GoDown (GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi, Kenya)
- CopyrightX: TSU (Tbilisi State University, Georgia)
- CopyrightX: Turin University (Turin, Italy)
- CopyrightX: UCT (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
- CopyrightX: Hans-Bredow-Institut Universität Hamburg (Hamburg, Germany)
- CopyrightX: University of Namibia
- CopyrightX: University of Sabana (Colombia)
- CopyrightX: University of Trento (Italy)
- CopyrightX: Vilnius University (Lithuania)
Lists of the affiliates in previous years are accessible here.
Admission to the Harvard Law School course is limited to current students at Harvard University.
Admission to the online sections is free and is open to any member of the public at least 13 years of age. However, enrollment is limited and admission is selective. The application period for the 2021 online course is now completed. We invite you to join our mailing list to stay apprised of future offerings and to check back next fall for the 2022 application cycle. Additional information concerning the admission process is available at CopyrightX Admission FAQ.
The criteria for admission to each of the affiliated courses are set by the course’s instructor.
To receive announcements and updates from the CopyrightX course team, including information about how to apply for future iterations of the online course, please join CopyrightX’s public mailing list.
In three ways, we have tried to make the CopyrightX materials accessible to all persons interested in learning about the copyright system. First, the syllabi for the Harvard Law School course and the online sections contain links to the reading materials in three alternative formats, two of which have been optimized for accessibility. Second, this website has been audited and adjusted to improve its accessibility. Finally, the recordings of all of the lectures were reformatted in the winter of 2015 and now include closed captioning. (Instructions for viewing the lectures with captions are available at CopyrightX: Lectures.)
We welcome suggestions concerning how we could do more. If you experience challenges accessing the CopyrightX materials, please send an email message to copyrightXcourse@gmail.com.
Descriptions and evaluations of CopyrightX may be found by following the following links:
- The CopyrightX Experience: A Student Perspective 2020
- New York Times, June 2016
- Harvard Gazette, May 27, 2015
- Spicy IP, April 22, 2015
- Science Magazine, January 2, 2015
- International Bar Association, October 2014
- Harvard 2014 Opening Year Conversation, September 16, 2014 (relevant discussion begins at 42:20)
- Vibe Ghana, February 3, 2014
- The Financial Times, February 2, 2014
- Harvard Law Bulletin, Summer 2013
- Kirill Blog, June 11, 2013
- Columbia Journalism Review, May 21, 2013
- The New Yorker, May 20, 2013
- Mass Law Blog, May 9, 2013
- National Law Journal, December 27, 2012
Reports from the teachers of some of the affiliated courses are listed below:
- Vilnius University, Lithuania (2019)
- “Converging Online and Class-Room Methods: A Promising Mode of Knowledge Sharing in Digital Age?”, by Arul George Scaria (2016)
- Turin, Italy (affiliated with the Nexa Center for Internet & Society)
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (affiliated with ITSrio)
- Lagos, Nigeria (affiliated with the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies)
- Amsterdam, Netherlands (affiliated with the Institute for Information Law)
- Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (affiliated with The Open University of Tanzania and the Copyright Society of Tanzania)
CopyrightX is described in detail in William W. Fisher III, Lessons from CopyrightX, in Ruth Okediji, ed., Copyright Law in an Age of Limitations and Exceptions (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Information concerning the genesis and pedagogy of CopyrightX, the fruits of the 2013 version, and the design of the 2014 version may also be found in the 2013 Course Report.
Listed below are a variety of resources that were created by members of the CopyrightX community. We welcome additional contributions of this sort. Translations of the course materials and adaptations of the materials that increase their accessibility to people with disabilities are particularly encouraged.
- Marc Pelteret, CopyrightX Lecture Transcripts, Creative Commons 4.0 Attribution License. Version 1.2 (Updated February 2018).
- Argyro Karanasiou, Evangelia Papadaki, Ramon Romano, Amanda Soares-Kemmer, Constantinos Papantoniou and Metaxas Nicolaides, CopyrightX Multiple Choice Questions, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Created 2015.
- Samuel Klein, Primavera de Filippi, & Kasia Gracz, Notes on Berkman Directors Special Event, April 2, 2014, Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication: These notes were taken at the third CopyrightX 2014 special event.
- Maryna Koberidze, J. Mason Williams IV, Chris White, Jens Bonk, Karen Traikovich, Joann Eichenlaub, Nagham El Houssamy, Nora Mari, Pietro Luigi Borgia, John I. Mitchell, Danny Rayman, and Rob Kittredge, CopyrightX 2014 Course Summary, April 29, 2014, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike 2.5 License: This course summary was compiled by a group of CopyrightX 2014 students.
- The FLAX Project, CopyrightX (Harvard University): This collection of materials (based on the CopyrightX lecture transcripts) is designed to promote English language learning and better understanding of the CopyrightX materials.
- Ruth Carter, “Creative experience in film (costume design),” April 17, 2019 [Download]
- Judge Pierre Leval, “Fair Use,” April 18, 2018 [YouTube] [Download] [Low-data download]
- Ruth Okediji, “Traditional Knowledge,” April 4, 2018 [YouTube] [Download] [Low-data download]
- Fred von Lohmann, ” Business Strategy and Law Reform, March 1, 2017 [YouTube] [Download] [Low-data download]
- Shira Perlmutter, International IP, April 13, 2016 [YouTube] [Download] [Low-data download]
- Akhil Sharma and Ron Suskind, Literature, March 23, 2016 [YouTube] [Download] [Low-data download]
- Abelardo Morell and Gerald Frug, Photography, April 8, 2015, 1420 to 1540 UTC (10:20 to 11:40 EDT) [YouTube] [Download] [Low-data download]
- Bruce Rich, Litigating Fair Use, April 15, 2015, 1420 to 1540 UTC (10:20 to 11:40 EDT) [YouTube] [Download] [Low-data download]
- Joshua Redman, Creativity in Music, February 5, 2014 [YouTube] [Download] [Low-data Download]
- Ruth Okediji, Copyright and Development, March 12, 2014 [YouTube] [Download] [Low-data Download]
- Chris Bavitz, Felix Oberholzer-Gee, Jeffrey Schnapp, and Stuart Shieber ,Berkman Center Discussion, April 2, 2014 [YouTube] [Download] [Low-data download]
- Justin Hughes, Negotiating Copyright Treaties, April 23, 2014 [YouTube] [Download] [Low-data download]
- Ms. Angela Ndambuki, Copyright in the Creative Economy, March 1, 2014 [Dropbox] (hosted by the CopyrightX Affiliate in Nairobi, Kenya)
- Dale Cendali, Richard Kelly, William Landay & John Drake, The Interests of Authors, February 6, 2013 [YouTube]
- Jeannie Suk & Chris Sprigman, IP Protection for Fashion, February 13, 2013 [YouTube]
- Dotan Oliar & Jim Mendrinos, Extralegal Norms, February 27, 2013 [YouTube]
- Shepard Fairey, Marita Sturken & Geoffrey Stewart, Appropriation Art, April 3, 2013 [YouTube]
- Larry Lessig, Free Culture, April 17, 2013 [YouTube]
- Robert Darnton & John Palfrey, Orphan Works and Digital Libraries, April 24, 2013 [YouTube]
- Maryanne Khoury, The Economics of Copyright and Creativity: Copyright and the Egyptian Film Industry [YouTube] (hosted by the CopyrightX Affiliate at the American University in Cairo, Egypt)