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Ten years ago, a meaningful discussion of copyright law could focus almost exclusively on the federal copyright statute and related case law. At that time, the primary powers wielded by copyright holders were the rights granted explicitly by the statute, such as the exclusive rights to authorize duplication, distribution, adaptation and performance. The primary constraints on copyright power, meanwhile, were similarly found in statutory text. Section 107, for example, forbid copyright holders from enforcing their rights against “fair use” infringements like parody and scholarship. Section 102 made clear that copyright protection could not be used to restrict access to ideas, concepts, and principles. In short, the relationships between and among authors, readers, viewers and listeners were dictated by explicit government rules.

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