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Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity Paperback – April 1, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
More About the Author
Professor of Media Studies
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
B.A., University of Texas at Austin
Siva Vaidhyanathan is a cultural historian and media scholar, and is currently the Robertson Family Professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. He also teaches at the University of Virginia School of Law. From 1999 through the summer of 2007 he worked in the Department of Culture and Communication at New York University. Vaidhyanathan is a frequent contributor on media and cultural issues in various periodicals including The Chronicle of Higher Education, New York Times Magazine, Bookforum, The Nation, Slate.com, and Salon.com. He is a frequent contributor to National Public Radio and to MSNBC.COM and has appeared in a segment of "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart. Vaidhyanathan is a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities.
In March 2002, Library Journal cited Vaidhyanathan among its "Movers & Shakers" in the library field. In the feature story, Vaidhyanathan lauded librarians for being "on the front lines of copyright battles" and for being "the custodians of our information and cultural commons." In November 2004 the Chronicle of Higher Education called Vaidhyanathan "one of academe's best-known scholars of intellectual property and its role in contemporary culture." He has testified as an expert before the U.S. Copyright Office on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
He is noted for opposing the Google Books scanning project on copyright grounds. He has published the opinion, that the project poses a danger for the doctrine of fair use, because the fair use claims are arguably so excessive that it may cause judicial limitation of that right.
Vaidhyanathan was born in Buffalo, New York, and attended the University of Texas at Austin, earning both a B.A. in History and a Ph.D. in American Studies.
Top Customer Reviews
Vaidhyanathan sets out his own objectives thus:
"This book has three goals. The first is to trace the development of American copyright law though the twentieth century. . . . The second goal is to succinctly and clearly outline the principles of copyright while describing the alarming erosion of the notion that copyright should protect specific expressions but not the ideas that lie beneath the expressions. The third and most important purpose of this book is to argue that American culture and politics would function better under a system that guarantees `thin' copyright protection -- just enough protection to encourage creativity, yet limited so that emerging artists, scholars, writers, and students can enjoy a right public domain and broad `fair use' of copyrighted material."
I believe that he succeeds on these terms. Even better, the book is very well written as prose, which we'd expect from a creative academic with long experience in print journalism. (The book is also full of fascinating tidbits. Did you know that Samuel Clemens would spend a weekend in Canada to register each of his books there? He did it to fortify his copyright protection throughout the Commonwealth.)
The chapters proceed more or less chronologically as Vaidhyanathan moves from early conceptions of copyright; through the careers of Mark Twain and D. W.Read more ›
Siva begins his "story" recounting in incredibly understandable terms, the history of the copyright ranging from the framing of the U.S. Constitution, the rights afforded musicians (recently challenged by the likes of ...) and of course, literary and digital works. Siva does not concentrate on the theoretical nature of this quagmire rather, he examines the issues as it relates to current issues and events making the content interesting and readable. He argues, very persuasively, that the current copyright laws in their punitive and restrictive form y hinder creativity and free expression. Further, he compellingly argues that the original intent of the laws were designed for flexible application to maintain cultural balance.
The issues framed in this book encompass the very future of creativity vital to industry, commerce, and free expression. A very enjoyable read even given the somewhat difficult nature of the subject matter.
Originally added to the Constitution to encourage creativity and to improve the democratic process, the copyright has evolved into a series of complex rules that seem to work almost in the opposite direction of the original intent.
Have you ever wondered how Mark Twain and Groucho Marx figured into the discussion of copyright issues? If so you can find out in this book - they both had very interesting roles. What about the diversity of legal opinions - from Lawrence Lessig, to the Ninth Circuit, to Mr. Justice Hand - all of who grappled with the rights of the few versus the rights of the many.
Added to the history is an intelligent and readable discussion of the policy issues related to the copyright. What kinds of policies will balance the creator's incentives and at the same time improve the level of public discussions? How long should rights survive? What elements should be included in the copyright? What are the reasonable standards for parody? Should there be differing standards for databases, books, movies, music and computer programs? The risk for all of those questions is that they can evolve into hopeless discussions of legal absurdities. In effect, that is what happened with the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.
But Vaidhyananathan does not let himself get stuck in all that goo - he deals with each of those issues and more in a concise and interesting fashion. At the same time he has the larger picture of the broader purposes of copyright.
You will be challenged and fascinated by this book and the issues it raises.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book traces the history of copyrights. The earliest British copyright laws were instruments of censorship. Read morePublished 11 months ago by William
I don't agree with everything, but he seems to have a good grasp of the constitution and how commercial interests keep trying to thwart the intent of Article 8. Recommended.Published on August 31, 2013 by M. R. Fraser
... and we never ended up using it.
You guys should really include a "can't review" box. Read more
This semester my son and I were determined to purchase as many textbooks through Internet vendors to try and save some money. Read morePublished on February 25, 2011 by markarli
The problem with this book, is that you cannot argue for copyrights on one hand, and against them on the other. Either there is intellectual property or there is not. Read morePublished on June 27, 2007 by Glantern13
A great presentation on why we should go to copyleft or the creative commons.Published on January 28, 2007 by A. Johnson
This book does not really explore aspects of copy protection beyond profit. Copy protection's original purpose was to protect others from taking your intellectual work and... Read morePublished on April 5, 2006 by Albert Eisenstein
I am writing this primarily to defend the style used by Dr. Vaidhyanathan in this book. The person who commented anonymously (as "a reader") suggested it was written at a second... Read morePublished on March 18, 2006 by Claudyus
This is an insightful though often quick and unfocused examination of the history of copyright law. Vaidhyanathan outlines the deceptively complicated realm of copyright law from... Read morePublished on November 6, 2004 by doomsdayer520