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Peter Decherney – Thomas Edison’s Internet

Thursday, March 3, 2011
12:30 pm


Sherrerd Hall, 3rd floor open space
Princeton, NJ 08544 United States + Google Map

Food and discussion begins at 12:30 pm. Everyone invited.

Of course piracy did not begin with the internet. But it is surprising how many of the issues that seem specific to online piracy have very long histories. My presentation will look at the early years of the film industry and some of the lessons that it has for the regulation of the internet. I will consider how courts, policy makers, and industry leaders addressed the issues of copy protection, unauthorized distribution, and the regulation of virtual networks.


Peter Decherney is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies and English at the University of Pennsylvania, where his research and teaching focus on the history of media and internet regulation. He is the author of Hollywood and the Culture Elite: How the Movies Became American (Columbia UP, 2005) and a recently completed book on the history and future of Hollywood and copyright law. In 2006, he successfully petitioned for an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for media professors, and in 2009 the exemption was expanded to include media students, noncommercial filmmakers, and many other groups. Also in 2009, he was named an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scholar, and in 2010-2011 his research will be supported by a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.

Peter Decherney