America's Broken Copyright Law: How Marvel and Sony Sparked Public Debate Surrounding the United States' "Broken" Copyright Law and How Congress Can Prevent a Copyright Small Claims Court from Making it Worse
Following failed discussions between Marvel and Sony regarding the use of Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, comic fans were left curious as to how Spider-Man could remain outside of the public domain after decades of the character’s existence. The comic community came to realize that Marvel was restricted in the use of its own character because of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 and the Supreme Court’s decision in Eldred v. Ashcroft. This realization sparked an online conversation regarding the United States’ lengthy copyright terms, and what many refer to as a “broken” copyright system.
The conversations regarding copyright law arose at a pertinent time. In December 2020, Congress passed the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2019. Following its passage, copyright holders now have an avenue to adjudicate "small" infringement claims. While a copyright small claims court could be a useful tool for copyright owners to enforce their property rights, it could also result in liability for a large number of Americans who unknowingly infringe on copyrighted material. This Note proposes that copyright formalities, namely registration and recordation, should be reintroduced in an effort to reduce the likelihood that creators incur liability for infringement.
America's Broken Copyright Law: How Marvel and Sony Sparked Public Debate Surrounding the United States' "Broken" Copyright Law and How Congress Can Prevent a Copyright Small Claims Court from Making it Worse,
69 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol69/iss4/8