MAC 355 Project 3: Copyright Case Study

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In this project you will use a case study method to examine key issues around copyright, media technology, and cultural expression. The case study approach analyzes a specific example in order to illustrate and explain big ideas. The three big ideas you will address are: 1) copyright/public domain, 2) fair use, and 3) Lawrence Lessig’s concept of free culture. You will also incorporate selected scholarly and primary resources.





In an essay or short response format, explain your case study and demonstrate your understanding of the following:


  1. Main components and rationales of copyright and public domain, including: incentives, exclusive rights, limited terms, reproductions, derivative works, and infringement. 
    1. The societal “balance” that copyright law is meant to achieve and the historical trends that have altered that balance. 
  2. Main components and rationales of fair use.
  3. Lessig’s argument about free culture and permission culture, especially relating to
    1. the internet and digital media technologies and
    2. the business models of commercial media organizations.


IMPORTANT: You may either break the essay into sections with clearly labeled headings or bold key terms and ideas in the body of the essay. Either way, clearly identify where you address each of the big ideas.


Case study selection:


Select a case study to help you illustrate and apply the three big ideas. You may pick a case study from the options below or select your own from a reputable new source. Either way you will want to do some additional research to see if your case was reported on in any news outlets or scholarly sources. This will help you better understand the case and give you additional material to reference in your analysis.


Can you upload a clip to YouTube if Prince is on in the background?

Dancing Baby, aka Lenz v. Universal Music (


Can a company use copyright law to stop criticism?
Fair Use Overcomes Chrysler’s Bogus Copyright Notice (

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