How to Fix Copyright

How to Fix Copyright

3.4 7
by William Patry
     
 

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Do copyright laws directly cause people to create works they otherwise wouldn't create? Do those laws directly put substantial amounts of money into authors' pockets? Does culture depend on copyright? Are copyright laws a key driver of competitiveness and of the knowledge economy? These are the key questions William Patry addresses in How to Fix Copyright. We all

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Overview

Do copyright laws directly cause people to create works they otherwise wouldn't create? Do those laws directly put substantial amounts of money into authors' pockets? Does culture depend on copyright? Are copyright laws a key driver of competitiveness and of the knowledge economy? These are the key questions William Patry addresses in How to Fix Copyright. We all share the goals of increasing creative works, ensuring authors can make a decent living, furthering culture and competitiveness and ensuring that knowledge is widely shared, but what role does copyright law actually play in making these things come true in the real world? Simply believing in lofty goals isn't enough. If we want our goals to come true, we must go beyond believing in them; we must ensure they come true, through empirical testing and adjustment. Patry argues that laws must be consistent with prevailing markets and technologies because technologies play a large (although not exclusive) role in creating consumer demand; markets then satisfy that demand. Patry discusses how copyright laws arose out of eighteenth-century markets and technology, the most important characteristic of which was artificial scarcity. Artificial scarcity was created by the existence of a small number gatekeepers, by relatively high barriers to entry, and by analog limitations on copying. Markets and technologies change, in a symbiotic way, Patry asserts. New technologies create new demand, requiring new business models. The new markets created by the Internet and digital tools are the greatest ever: Barriers to entry are low, costs of production and distribution are low, the reach is global, and large sums of money can be made off of a multitude of small transactions. Along with these new technologies and markets comes the democratization of creation; digital abundance is replacing analog artificial scarcity. The task of policymakers is to remake our copyright laws to fit our times: our

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a follow-up to his 2009 Moral Panic and the Copyright Wars, Patry, senior copyright counsel at Google and one of America’s foremost experts on copyright law, offers an insightful, reasonable series of fixes to our increasingly outmoded copyright system. But perhaps the author’s greatest triumph is that he makes his complex subject seem familiar and even entertaining. In well-written, easily digestible sections, Patry puts the complex legal, procedural, and constitutional underpinnings of copyright law in context with the rapidly evolving, tech-fueled lives of creators and users. The result is a book that shifts easily from tart social commentary—such as the disconnect of making students sit through industry-sponsored lectures on how downloading hurts creativity while at the same time cutting art and music classes from curriculums—to the more practical impacts of product cycles. Patry’s message is simple: copyright is not the basis of creativity, and piling bad legislation and sweeping legal controls on top of our already groaning system will hurt, not help, our creative culture. “The proxy battle for control of technology and markets through copyright laws must stop,” Patry argues. Insightful, impeccably researched, and prescriptive, Patry’s vision of copyright should resonate with today’s creators—and infuriate yesterday’s media and entertainment conglomerates. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"How to Fix Copyright is full of smart, sensible ideas." —The Wall St. Journal

"A book that is incandescent in every sense of the word...How to Fix Copyright is a superbly argued, enraging book on the state of copyright law today." — Boing Boing

"William Patry, Senior Copyright Counsel at Google and one of America's foremost experts on copyright law, offers an insightful, reasonable series of fixes to our increasingly outmoded copyright system. But perhaps the author's greatest triumph is that he makes his complex subject seem familiar and even entertaining. In well-written, easily digestible sections, Patry puts the complex legal, procedural, and constitutional underpinnings of copyright law in context with the rapidly evolving, tech-fueled lives of creators and users. Insightful, impeccably researched, and prescriptive, Patry's vision of copyright should resonate with today's creators - and infuriate yesterday's media and entertainment conglomerates." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Library Journal
Copyright doesn't work and isn't necessary, writes Patry (senior copyright counsel, Google; Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars), a nationally recognized expert on the subject. Copyright enriches wealthy interests and not creators, who are often offered only unfair, take-it-or-leave-it contracts. Patry shows that empirical evidence justifying copyright laws is lacking and statistics peddled to defend the status quo are false. He demonstrates how the system is broken thanks to changes pushed by corporate interests that massively lengthened the term of copyrights (this review will be protected into the 22nd century!), abolished any obligation to register copyrights so people know who owns what, and created unreasonable penalties for infringement. Patry doesn't argue for abolishing copyright, but it seems like the rational conclusion from his arguments. He does vocally push for shorter terms and registration. VERDICT Although the text is undermined by sloppy footnotes, the use of dubious sources such as Wikipedia, and citation of materials to ephemeral URLs, this provocative book will be fodder for readers interested in the culture wars.—Michael O. Eshleman, Kings Mills, OH

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199760091
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
01/04/2012
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
1,357,041
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

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