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Hollywood's Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet (Film and Culture Series) Hardcover – April 10, 2012

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Product Details

  • Series: Film and Culture Series
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; y First printing edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231159463
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231159463
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,193,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Both scholarly and readable, this will be of interest to movie history buffs and those who deal with copyright issues.

(Library Journal)

A splendid new study of the legal, technological, and aesthetic wrangling over motion picture copyright wrongs and rights, particularly timely.

(Thomas Doherty Moving Image Source)

Decherney's readable book provides a century of evidence about the complicated relationship between film, law, and power.

(Rebecca Tushnet Jotwell: Cyberlaw)

A groundbreaking study on what has been an understudied aspect of American film history.

(Jan-Christopher Horak Archival Spaces: Memory, Images, History)

Have you ever wondered if a book about copyright law could be as compelling as the Fifty Shades trilogy, but without BDSM scenes? Well, wonder no further. The answer, after reading Hollywood's Copyright Wars by Peter Decherney, is definitely yes.

(Eleonora Rosati Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice 1900-01-00)

...an informative, well-written history of developments that have profoundly shaped American culture from Edison to YouTube. Highly recommended.

(Choice 1900-01-00)

Enjoyable and engrossing... insightful.... Recommended for academic lawlibraries, undergraduate libraries, and public libraries.

(Jacquelyn McCloud Law Library Journal 1900-01-00)

Any collection strong in Hollywood media issues needs this fine survey, which goes beyond the scenes to probe the decisions and actions that often take place outside the actual courtroom.

(The Midwest Book Review)

A richly detailed and compelling account that is a much-needed addition to the cultural and political history of copyright law. It is essential reading for media and communications scholars and students, but also highly recommended to anyone interested in copyright law.

(Burcu Baykurt Media Culture and Society 1900-01-00)

... Superb...

(Film & History 1900-01-00)


I tell my students that one cannot understand how media work without understanding copyright. With deep research and lively writing, this book makes that point emphatically. Peter Decherney shows how the copyright system shaped the American film industry and how film in turn shaped copyright. This is cultural history at its best.

(Siva Vaidhyanathan, University of Virginia, author of Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity)

More About the Author

Peter Decherney is Professor of Cinema Studies and English and Director of the Cinema Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds a secondary appointment at the Annenberg School for Communication, and he is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Technology, Innovation, and Competition at Penn Law School. Prof. Decherney is the author of Hollywood's Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet and Hollywood and the Culture Elite: How the Movies Became American, as well as the co-editor of the journal Critical Studies in Media Communication. He has testified before the Copyright Office of the United States, and in 2011 he filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court Case of Golan v. Holder. Prof. Decherney has been an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scholar and a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sandeep on May 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am an IP lawyer but was pleasantly surprised with clarity/ easy going writing style of this book. You do not need to be a copyright lawyer to understand the book or appreciate the excellent hard work put in by the Author.

The book starts from early days of the Hollywood studio days and comes to the present day. To me, the most fun section to read was the first half of the book - because it talks of those old days and for which we do not see enough written on the internet or wiki.

The early days and explanation on 'duping', practices of the old studios etc are described in a lucid style, with lots of case discussions and the book has some nice images as well.
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0 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Joe Hong on February 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I was forced to buy this book as part of a class I was taking in college. I read through the entire book and I can honestly say it is one of the most boring books I've ever read. What made it even worse was that after reading the whole book I didn't feel like I had learned anything substantial that would help me in future endeavors.
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