Congratulations to Ms Hongjiao Zhang, HKU PhD candidate under the supervision of Dr Yahong Li, on winning the third place at the ATRIP Essay Competition 2020 with her paper “A Typological Framework for the Implied License Doctrine in Copyright Law”.
Abstract: In property law, the transfer of the possession of movable property and the registration system of real estate can demonstrate the transfer of property ownership. However, intellectual property, including copyright, is intangible. The ownership of copyright cannot be inferred from the possession of the material object in which the work is embodied because the ownership of copyright is distinct from the ownership of the material object. Thus, to enhance the predictability and certainty of copyright ownership, including exclusive licenses of copyrighted works, a signed document is required in many jurisdictions. Nonexclusive licenses, however, carry no such requirements and can be granted via oral expression or implied from conduct. The point of the leading copyright treaties that “a nonexclusive license may be granted via oral expression or implied from conducts” has been cited in many US copyright cases. In this sense, an implied license addresses a gap in copyright law. The paper can be downloaded here.