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Devlin Hartline

Legal Fellow

Hudson Institute

Devlin Hartline is Legal Fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Forum for Intellectual Property in Washington, D.C. His research agenda spans a broad spectrum of doctrinal and political issues in intellectual property law, with particular focus on advancing and protecting the rights of creators and innovators.

Recent Articles by Devlin Hartline

The IP Law Problem with California’s New Right to Repair Act

California is poised to become the third state to enact a right to repair law aimed at making it easier for independent repair shops and consumers to repair electronic devices. This might sound well and good—until you think about what it actually means for IP owners. While repair advocates may not care about, or even acknowledge, the IP side of the equation, the not-so-hidden truth of the right to repair movement is that it expands repair opportunities for consumers by taking away the rights of copyright and patent owners. Indeed, the foundational premise of the repair movement is that there is something inherently wrong when an IP owner exercises its right to exclude and imposes a repair restriction. Of course, this lopsided view elevates access over incentives, and it ignores how IP law itself promotes the public good by rewarding creators and innovators for their individual efforts. But, more importantly, it’s not up to the states to second-guess Congress’s judgment.

The Quixotic Battle Over Controlled Digital Lending Heats Up

In June 2020, a few months into the pandemic, a group of four large publishing houses—Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, John Wiley & Sons, and Penguin Random House (collectively, the Publishers)—sued Internet Archive (IA) in the Southern District of New York for “willful mass copyright infringement.” The spat centers around IA’s Open Library project, which scans millions of physical books and delivers them digitally across the globe for free to anyone with an internet connection. IA proclaims that the “ultimate goal of the Open Library is to make all the published works of humankind available to everyone in the world,” but it conspicuously fails to mention that its utopian vision doesn’t include getting permission from copyright owners before offering their works on its virtual bookshelves. IA argues before the court that it doesn’t need permission because its actions qualify as fair use under the dubious new theory of controlled digital lending (CDL), which it claims to be “fundamentally the same as traditional library lending” since it “poses no new harm to authors or the publishing industry.”

Past Events with Devlin Hartline

Artificial Intelligence Masters™ 2023

Held on March 07-08, 2023