Note: This is the first of several blog posts devoted to Week 4/Module 4 of my business law summer course (Tiger King edition).
I have been teaching a survey course in business law this summer. This course is entirely online (as my university moved to remote instruction until further notice), so to capture my students’ attention, I assigned my students to watch the surprise hit Netflix show Tiger King during the first week of the course (May 11-15). Two weeks ago (May 18-22), I introduced my students to the main sources of law (State, federal, and international law), and last week (May 26-29), we surveyed three major areas of the Common Law: property, torts and contracts. In this post, I will provide a general overview of Week 4 of the course and describe the contents of Module 4.
The fourth week of the course is devoted to intellectual property rights like trademarks and copyrights, or what I like to call “The Law of Ideas”. But why spend an entire week to this area of law in such a short six-week course? Why are intellectual property rights so important? In brief, business firms provide a wide variety of products and services, but ask yourself, what do all these products and services have in common? Simply put, all products and all services embody a set of ideas, and it is intellectual property law that makes it possible for persons and business firms to own their ideas or the expression of their ideas. (In plain English, if you have a good idea, intellectual property law is the area of law that allows you to legally protect your idea and make money off it. So, yeah, we are going to spend a lot of time on this area of law!)
Specifically, my module on the Law of Ideas is divided into eight parts as follows:
- A. Intro Video, Textbook Chapter, & Theme Song
- B. The Big Picture
- C. Copyrights
- D. Trademarks
- E. USPTO v. Booking.com
- F. The Fair Use Doctrine
- G. Bonus Section: Tiger King-Related Trademarks & Copyrights
- H. Quiz & Discussion Post
Because of my Tiger King theme, one of the sections of this module features materials that are specific to the Tiger King docuseries. Also, since this is a short, six-week summer course, I decided to narrow my coverage of intellectual property rights on copyrights and trademarks, and even with this limited focus, I still had to cram a lot of information into this module. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. We will delve into the details of Module 4 during the rest of this week; in the meantime, below are some screenshots of the homepage of my course for Week 4:
Canvas App version:
Footnote: Notice that I added an image inspired by the “Black Lives Matter” movement on the bottom of my homepage as well as links to two news reports relating to the recent unrest following the death of George Floyd while in police custody. Part of me felt awkward doing this, as I am not a political person (I am a registered Independent, though I lean towards the libertarian side of things). But at the same time, another part of me is mad as hell that (as of today, June 2, one full week after Mr Floyd’s death), three of the four officers involved in his unlawful arrest have still not been charged by the authorities.