Update: Here's a de-paywalled version on the Chronicle's site -- thanks, Henry!
Mr. Doctorow has little taste for what he calls the "maximalist" view of intellectual property — the notion that copyright is something to be enforced strictly rather than something that should strive to be as invisible and as flexible as possible — and the subtitle of his course is meant as a bit of a provocation. "Is everyone on campus a copyright criminal?" the syllabus asks, alluding to the overwhelming majority of college students who have swapped music, movies, and software on peer-to-peer networks. If the answer is yes, he suggests, then something has clearly gone wrong.
With his new course, Mr. Doctorow has joined the growing ranks of scholars preaching that copyright law needs a makeover. Professors like Lawrence Lessig, of Stanford University; Siva Vaidhyanathan, of New York University; and Edward W. Felten, of Princeton University, have taught courses that sought to poke holes in traditional views of copyright. But while those professors made their names in large part through academic books and research projects, Mr. Doctorow has taken a decidedly different route. He doesn't hold a college degree, and he earned his reputation not through scholarly work but through a blog.