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Copyfraud and Other Abuses of Intellectual Property Law Hardcover – October 5, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"I highly recommend this long-awaited and important book."--Lawrence B. Solum, Legal Theory Blog

"A reasoned, calm manifesto for reform; the trouble is that it's easier for the little guy to pay a ransom than to fight in court. A must-read for all content creators."--Library Journal

"Jason Mazzone's Copyfraud and Other Abuses of Intellectual Property Law adds a strong voice to the chorus of those who argue on behalf of the public . . . Copyfraud arguably presents the most lucid, extensively detailed description of this phenomenon to date and Mazzone may well be the first to offer a clear typology of the various abuses falling under this rubric."—Jacyn Selby, International Journal of Communication

"Yo, this engaging book isn't afraid to expose some of the music industry's most widespread 'dirty little secrets.' Although the Copyright System has its roots in the U.S. Constitution and is designed to promote and reward creativity on an 'honor' system, the Copyright Laws themselves have been hijacked and exploited by less than honorable people. If you are a musician or songwriter, read this book to avoid becoming yet another victim."—George Clinton

"Jason Mazzone powerfully crystallizes a set of digital copyright problems not focused on infringement by the public, but rather overreaching by copyright holders. He makes a crucial contribution to a framework for shoring up the governance of bits in the digital age: the formidable powers of intellectual property should be matched by proper policing of its boundaries."—Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard University, author of The Future of the Internet—And How to Stop It

"Jason Mazzone masterfully shows the astonishing ways in which content industries misuse their intellectual property rights—and how to rein them in. This book will transform debates about balancing private property with public access to information in the digital age. A must read for anyone who cares about the future of creativity."—Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia

About the Author

Jason Mazzone has taught intellectual property law and constitutional law at Brooklyn Law School since 2003; he is the youngest faculty member in the school's history to hold an endowed chair. A renowned legal scholar, Mazzone has written about legal issues for the New York Times and other national newspapers, and he is a regular media commentator and a blogger at the popular legal blog, Balkinization. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University, a master's degree from Stanford University, and a master's and doctorate from Yale University. Before entering academia, he was a law clerk to two federal judges and he practiced intellectual property law in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford Law Books (October 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804760063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804760065
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #575,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a great read. Like most people, I knew nothing about copyright law before I read this book . . . except that I likely violate it by using BitTorrent and by "disseminating" accounts of baseball games without the express written consent of major league baseball. Apparently, according to Mazzone, only one of those is unlawful.

Mazzone's book is about Copyfraud: falsely claiming copyright ownership of another's creative works. Given all the crying by record and production companies about piracy, who knew that they were stealing, too? This book is an eyeopening account of false copyright claims and what can be done to remedy a bad situation. Especially in light of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements, it is shocking to think that it's easier to punish a high school student for illegally downloading a song than the record company for illegally claiming to own it.

This is a must read--not just for artists, photographers, musicians, and writers--but for ordinary folk like me who enjoy a great piece of nonfiction and care about preserving my rights.
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Format: Hardcover
We've all heard concerns voiced by music companies and publishers about piracy in the digital era, but Brooklyn Law School professor Jason Mazzone gives us the first book dedicated to the problem of those same companies overreaching beyond the limits of copyright law to claim copyright protections on works or parts of works that are in the public domain. "Copyfraud and Other Abuses of Intellectual Property Law" shows the extent to which overreaching occurs, why it occurs, and proposes solutions that would ensure the public can freely use the materials that it is entitled to use. Mazzone is not at all pro-piracy. He believes "in strong intellectual property rights and a strong public domain." But the public domain is increasingly in jeopardy. Overreaching threatens to stifle free expression and innovation, and to make us pay to use a lot of stuff we should have for free.

Mazzone explains what the copyright laws are and how they are being abused in the first six chapters, tackles trademarks in one chapter, then presents detailed proposals for "how to stop copyfraud, protect fair use, and restore the public domain." He begins with copyfraud, the most straightforward form of overreaching, which is simply "the act of falsely claiming a copyright in a public domain work." This commonly occurs with works for which the copyright has expired and is exploited to force people to pay licensing fees for public domain works. The uncertainty built into the definition of "fair use" causes even more expensive problems, when companies insist that every snippet of their work be licensed. -Having attended NYU, I wondered when someone would get around to suing them for all those photocopied course packets. Mazzone talks about that too.
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Format: Hardcover
In defence of the public domain, this book by a law professor attacks the widespread abuse of copyright law. Although mainly directed at abuse in the USA, copyright is also abused in the UK by many who should know better. He mentions many public bodies such as Universities and Public Libraries who deliberately flaunt copyright law by claiming copyright on items which are in the public domain. Copyright applies to all original works for a period of the life of the author plus 70 years. This is a very long term by any stretch of the imagination, especially when compared with a patent lifetime of just 20 years. So books which written long ago by such luminaries as Dickens and Shakespeare have a copyright notice imprinted on their title pages, flouting the clear breach of the law. But there is an equally egregious practice of issuing a license (of unlimited duration) to any one who wants to copy an out-of-copyright work, usually on payment of a fee. The practice is widely used in the UK by Universities and Libraries which hold often unique works, such as manuscripts, books, maps and photographs which are well beyond conventional copyright law. I came across the practice when writing my book, Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silvery Tay: reinvestgating the Tay Bridge disaster of 1879 in 2004, when I wanted to use photographs dating from 1880 of the fallen remains of the old bridge. They had been taken by Valentines, the local photographer in Dundee for the official inquiry, and were critical in determining the cause of the bridge collapse.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Very important book, especially as Congress is considering expanding the already extensive powers of copyright owners.

Intellectual property commentary has not spent enough time on the fact of IP overenforcement as it confronts users. Mazzone's book highlights an underappreciated problem of rights fabrication that threatens to become a form of private legislation. If the intellectual property system is to genuinely promote innovation and creativity, it will need to address the problems he describes. Mazzone's policy recommendations are wise and often original, both recognizing and building on a large law review literature on IP reform.

There are many works that critique copyright overenforcement, but none frames the issue in the way that Mazzone does. Moreover, his closing arguments present a uniquely level-headed and persuasive account of the policy changes that could improve matters.

Mazzone hits the "sweet spot" between sparse summary and prolix pontification. Mazzone is a gifted writer who can make an argument about even dry topics move briskly and engagingly. Overall, a wonderful read and a worthy contribution to the IP literature.
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