• Professor Hank Perritt

    Henry H. Perritt, Jr.

    Professor of Law and Director of the Graduate Program in Financial Services Law

    – Go to his faculty biography

    – Go to his publications:

       SSRN: http://papers.ssrn.com
       Bepress: http://works.bepress.com/henry_perritt/

    Perritt on Internet Technology, Entertainment, and IP Law

    by  • September 20, 2012 • Faculty Commentary, Scholarship • 0 Comments

    At a recent “faculty research slam” event, faculty members shared excerpts and ideas from current works-in-progress and recent projects. The following summary by Professor Henry Perritt discusses recent scholarship interests and upcoming articles, most of which concern Internet-centered technology developments and their implications for the marketplace, the entertainment industry, and intellectual property law. To read more of Professor Perritt’s scholarship, visit his SSRN and Bepress pages.

    By Henry H. Perritt, Jr.


    Ronald Coase’s 1937 article, “The Nature of the Firm,” observed that rational economic actors decide whether to “make or buy” depending on whether the transaction costs of assembling factors of production inside a firm’s boundaries are less than the transaction costs of assembling them in the external marketplace. Michael Heller’s 1998 Harvard Law Review article, “The Tragedy of the Anticommons,” observed that fragmented ownership of goods and services increases transaction costs for those who want to combine.

    In a series of law review articles — Henry H. Perritt, Jr., New Business Models For Music, 18 Vill. Sports & Ent. L.J. 63 (2011); Henry H. Perritt, Jr., Technologies of Storytelling: New Models for Movies, 10 Va. Sports & Ent. L.J. 106 (2010); Henry H. Perritt, Jr., Cut in Tiny Pieces: Ensuring that Fragmented Ownership Does Not Chill Creativity, 14 Vand. J. Ent. & Tech. L. 1 (2011); The Internet at 20: Evolution of a Constitution for Cyberspace, 20 Wm. & Mary Bill Rts. J. 1115 (2012); Henry H. Perritt, Jr., Competitive Entertainment: Implications of the NFL Lockout Litigation for Sports, Theatre, Music, and Video Entertainment, ___ Hastings Comm. Ent. L. J. ___ (in press); and Henry H. Perritt, Jr., Crowd Sourcing Indie Movies (forthcoming) — I argue that Internet-centered technology developments are reducing the size of economically sustainable units of production in the entertainment industries, broadly defined, thereby reducing barriers to entry and allowing almost anyone with a creative bent to access global markets. The result, however, is greatly increased transaction costs, both for consumers who want to find entertainment that appeals to them, but also for other creators who want to combine what’s available into new creative works. (more…)

    Entertainment Sans Copyright

    by  • January 21, 2010 • Faculty Commentary, Scholarship • 1 Comment

    By Henry H. Perritt, Jr.


    In its issues surrounding the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, the New York times carried several articles speculating about the future of the communications and entertainment industries. One, a traditional glass-is-half-full slap at technology, bemoaned the fact that the new Blue Ray video-disc technology would fall short of making available the complete archives of all movies every shot—nevermind that the back catalogue of movies would not be available at all to consumers without such technology and its predecessors in the digital realm.[1] Others provided greater insight as to the core value underlying entertainment works, regardless of format and distribution technology. Manhola Dargis pointed out that, since the time of Edison’s innovation, through the onset of television, Internet distribution, and portable video players, what draws consumers is “narrative strategies and visual style.”[2] Regardless of the technology of delivery, it’s the “camera placement [and] editing that direct your attention,” and cause you to “fall under [the] sway of the movie, lock[ing] you into the story.”[3] A publishing-house president explained that publishers, as distinct from distributors of traditional printed book or e-book formats, “select, nurture, position, and promote” authors’ works.[4]

    Only the most obtuse—or those who make their livings solely from aggressive enforcement of copyright—now deny that digital technologies have revolutionized the popular music industry, offering consumers a much richer variety of musical styles and performers, even as they have killed off the major labels and CD retailers.[5] Video entertainment is next, and it’s far from clear that consumers should weep at the demise of the values of lying, cheating, egomania, greed, and follow-the-leader at the expense of creative impulses which long have defined Hollywood and co-opted the “indie” part of the film industry.[6]

    As bandwidth and storage continues to explode and iPhone-like devices penetrate every pocket, some trends are likely to enhance the power of consumers to “fall under the sway” of compelling video narratives: wireless streaming, packaging of video entertainment into smaller bites, chained together in sequels, recalling the era of serialized fiction in the magazines of a century ago. YouTube has connected audiences with millions of short-form video works, some of which have proved quite popular. Significant fractions of the most popular televisions shows have a serial character. Soap operas demonstrated for decades the viability of serialization of narrative. (more…)

    Perritt on Kurdistan’s strategic future

    by  • November 2, 2009 • Faculty Commentary • 5 Comments

    By Henry H. Perritt, Jr.


    In evaluating ways to clean up the mess that the Bush Administration made in Iraq, too little attention has been paid to the strategic options presented by the Kurds, who comprise about 25 % of Iraq’s population and now control 10-20 % of its territory under the umbrella of the Kurdistan Regional Government (hereinafter “Kurdistan” or “KRG”).

    I was in Kurdistan last week. Its second city, Sulamaniyah, is crowded with traffic, and construction cranes dot the skyline. Civilians rush about, patronizing high-end clothing stores as well as traditional markets. The atmosphere is calm, with few worries about security. Not a single American soldier or marine has been killed, wounded or kidnapped in Kurdistan since the invasion of 2003. Unlike in southern Iraq, Americans are popular.

    KRG is guaranteed political autonomy by the Iraqi constitution. The Kurds intend to hold on to the autonomy and, if possible, to expand it, hoping to extend the geographic reach of KRG to the oil-rich governorate of Kirkuk. With the revenue from Kirkuk’s energy resources, protection from KRG’s Peshmerga–militia forces estimated to number anywhere from 100,000 to 250,000, and a modicum of support from U.S. forces, the Kurds are well-positioned to play a crucial role in the reshaping of the Middle East.

    Five scenarios can be envisioned. The first is least likely: a genuinely unified and democratic Iraq.

    (more…)