How to Fix Copyright

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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 ...

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How to Fix Copyright

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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 copyright laws, based on the eighteenth century concept of physical copies, gatekeepers, and artificial scarcity, must be replaced with laws based on access not ownership of physical goods, creation by the masses and not by the few, and global rather than regional markets. Patry's view is that of a traditionalist who believes in the goals of copyright but insists that laws must match the times rather than fight against the present and the future.

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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: 1/4/2012
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

William Patry is Senior Copyright Counsel at Google Inc. He previously served as copyright counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary; as a Policy Planning Advisor to the U.S. Register of Copyrights; as a law professor; and as a private lawyer. He is the author of the definitive eight volume treatise on copyright law, Patry on Copyright, a separate treatise on the fair use doctrine, Patry on Fair Use which has been in print since 1985, as well as many law review articles, including one with Judge Richard Posner.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Introduction
Chapter 1: Copyright and Creativity: A Brief History
Chapter 2: The Business of Copyright
Chapter 3: What Should be Protected, and for How Long
Chapter 4: The Mechanics of Copyright
Chapter 5: What is to Be Done? Sensible Futures for Copyright in a Global Market
Conclusion

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2012

    QUTE

    Never mind , I found part one . Nice writing . Is there going to be more ? Cause i certainly hope so : )

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Astro

    Hmm...i know where ur getting this....but its a little confusing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Mask

    It's okay... use more descriptive words and make things a little clearer. [~•~] Mask

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    What?

    Sorry but a littel confusing

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2012

    'Oops! I went the wrong way!" ::::;:;Chapter two:::::::

    (P.S. Sorry this is late i was grounded for a while.)The cracking sound grew louder as we neared the source. We rounded a corner & saw what it was. The blue stone. It was cracking open! Suddenly it popped completely open. It wasnt a stone it was an egg! I wasnt sure what the little creature that came out of it was, but even though it had wings it definitely wasn't a bird. A few days later Eragon came back from a day in town & said an old storyteller named Brom had told a story about the Dragon Riders. He told me that the reason that there werent any Riders or dragons around was because "King' Galbatorix had killed all the Riders & dragons...or so it was thought. Then Eragon told me about somthing that had happened while i was resting after he got back from town. He told me that he had realized from Brom's story that the little creature who had hatched from the blue egg was a dragon!(by now he had figured out that the little dragon was a she). "I had to take her outside so Uncle & Roran wouldn't get suspicious. So i took her out into the field & got her to fly. She went way up into the sky & i thouht she'd left. Oh! By the way," he said, "I left a part out so ill have to go back & tell it or you wont quite understand what happened next." He paused for breath then continued. "After you had gone to sleep i touched her on the head. Instantly there was a flash of light & all ent black. When i woke up i was lying on the floor & Uncle was calling me to do my morning chores. It left a fancy-looking "e" symbol on my palm." He showed me his right hand. There was the mark, plain as day. "And it only happened that one time, right?" "Yeah, just once." He agreed.

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  • Posted June 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This in-depth examination of copyright law deals with a topical,

    This in-depth examination of copyright law deals with a topical, but often little-understood, commercial issue in an authoritative way. William Patry, Google’s senior counsel on copyrights, plumbs his experience to provide comprehensive information on this complex subject in a clear, logical fashion. This is not to say that everyone would agree with all of his conclusions – it’s a controversial subject. Patry, also the author of the eight-volume set Patry on Copyright, details why current copyright laws fail not only creators but also society as a whole, all those whose interests copyright is supposed to advance and protect. Patry deals with countless requests each month from copyright owners who want to remove their content from Google’s search returns, so he is deeply involved in this issue in a way that could have helped shape his point of view. He advocates using copyright to be sure creators get paid, but not turning to it for tight restriction of other parties’ use of their work. getAbstract recommends this well-sourced work on current copyright law while noting that Patry’s book is also unusual because it does not include a copyright notice. Now, that’s a man who practices what he preaches.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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