Aaron Perzanowski, professor at the School of Law, co-authored an article titled “Abandoning Copyright” with Dave Fagundes of the University of Houston Law Center. The piece was published in the William and Mary Law Review.
For nearly 200 years, U.S. copyright law has assumed that owners may voluntarily abandon their rights in a work. But scholars have largely ignored copyright abandonment, and case law on the subject is fragmented and inconsistent. As a result, abandonment remains poorly theorized, owners can avail themselves of no reliable mechanism to abandon their works, and the practice remains rare.
The article seeks to “bring copyright abandonment out of the shadows, showing that it is a doctrine rich in conceptual, normative, and practical significance. It explains that “… copyright abandonment is potentially costly for rights holders but broadly beneficial for society.”