Intellectual Property Speaker Series - Jacob Victor

Professor Jacob Victor

Join the Intellectual Property Law Program as they host Jacob Victor, Assistant Professor of Law, for an Intellectual Property Speaker Series. This workshop will discuss Professor Victor's paper "Copyright's Law of Dissemination." This event will take place in the FCC and via zoom. 


The rise of streaming services, like Spotify and Netflix, and the decline in litigation over illegal filesharing, suggest the triumph of free-market licensing in enabling forms of distribution able to meet the interests of both copyright owners and the public. This outlook, however, neglects the many ways that copyright law regulates the use of content by disseminators such as streaming services, radio stations, and libraries. This Article provides the first comprehensive account of copyright’s law of dissemination, examining how a range of seemingly unrelated judicial doctrines and regulatory institutions together affect the relationship between copyright owners and the entities that distribute creative works to the public.  

While these regimes are frequently treated as sui generis historical relics, the Article argues that, when assessed together, their actual operation displays some consistency with accounts of copyright’s normative agenda. In particular, four interrelated goals are apparent across copyright’s many dissemination-related institutions: (1) facilitating exchanges in transaction cost-heavy contexts, (2) enabling more efficient and expansive public access to existing creative works, (3) reducing barriers to entry for new forms of distribution in particularly concentrated markets, and (4) furthering distributive-justice priorities. 
In recent years, however, copyright’s law of dissemination has become increasingly outmoded and inconsistent, a problem attributable to policymakers’ and judges’ failure to recognize the specific regulatory approaches to dissemination that have animated the copyright system. Identifying the full scope of copyright’s law of dissemination thus provides necessary grounding for addressing the challenges that copyright’s institutions will continue to face as new technologies disrupt the status quo.

Covid related requirements for any non-GW employees or students that wish to come to the talk in person can be found here.