- Paperback: 216 pages
- Publisher: Prometheus Books; Pbk. Ed edition (July 5, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 159102420X
- ISBN-13: 978-1591024200
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,886,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Digital Copyright Pbk. Ed Edition
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From Library Journal
Litman (law, Wayne State Univ.) offers a surprisingly readable, even entertaining dissection of 1998's Digital Millennium laws passed throughout the 20th century. Central to her exegesis is a critique of the method of drafting legislation, begun just about 100 years ago, that lets the interested parties negotiate among themselves and submit to legislators proposed amendments and revisions. She includes libraries as parties with special interests in this system and notes that the most important group consumers is inevitably not represented. And she has special disdain for her fellow Chapters jump from a historical investigation of legislative practice, to comparison of several recent technological challenges to copyright, to an explanation of how shifts in the understanding of underlying principle have shaped the law. In the end, Litman proposes a vastly simplified system but admits that "a wholesale reconceptualization of copyright law seems unlikely-. There are not many Don Quixotes in Washington." Recommended for all types of libraries. Eric Bryant, "Library Journal" Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Readers with an interest in doing business on the Internet, or in the specific issue of copyright, should not be without this book. The author, a recognized expert in copyright law, demonstrates how the World Wide Web has the potential to restructure copyright laws in the U.S. It's a tricky, complicated issue in which questions of control versus access are paramount. How, for instance, do you regulate the use of a copyrighted work when anyone who logs onto the Net can access it for free? Do you try to charge each computer user a royalty? To put all this in its proper context, Litman provides a capsule history of U.S. copyright law, showing how every development in the technology of publishing has brought further refinement and further complications to the law. At the center of the book is a single question: Do the new statutes now being proposed by copyright holders make sense? The book is quite technical in places, but it's also clearly written and sensibly argued. A timely and very useful resource. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Criticisms of this book in previous reviews cite the fact that the book includes a number of journal articles cobbled together. That's fine with me - the quality of these articles are such that I don't mind the occasional restating of points made in a previous chapter - these are all issues that bear repeating! I understand that the prose is necessarily awkward at times - hey! this is copyright law, it's s'posed to be opaque!
The salient issues (for me) from this book are the following:
1. Copyright law is designed, developed and negotiated by those who have the biggest stake in making the most money.
2. The US Congress, our representative to insure that we, the public, are not shafted by unfair, restrictive copyright laws, have betrayed our trust. They are swayed by lobbyists, large campaign contributions, and rubber stamp whatever the copyright owners want. The consumer's voice (and to a great extent, the voice of emerging technologies as well!) is silent.
3. It's no longer about copying, it's about consuming.
4. The Internet (and the digital technology that accompanies it) provides copyright owners the ability to monitor, meter, enforce and control access. Fair use is (or will be) a thing of the past; "fair use" was grudgingly accepted by copyright owners mainly because preventing copying for "personal use" was deemed "unenforceable". No longer.
We as individual consumers must make our voices heard. Read this book - educate yourself.
Part polemic against the encroaching magnification of corporate over individual rights to works, part history of the development of copyright law in the US, Litman's main points as a law professor specializing in copyright law involve the historical lack of representation of individual consumers' rights in the marketplace. Congress historically has simply allowed "interested parties" to collaborate on agreements that Congress then enacted into law. Unfortunately, and as Litman shows again and again, businesses and consumers not at the bargaining table got the short shrift and nascent new industries based on revolutionary technologies (such as piano rolls, movies, etc) were hindered in their development. Those involved in the copyright law negotiations (libraries, unions, and major existing industries and trade groups) tended to get limited exceptions, deals, and special exemptions, while our representatives in Congress have traditionally simply allowed them their way.
Litman then discusses 1998's DMCA and how it, to a degree previously unseen in copyright law, exposes consumers to the will of the producers of works and the vagarities of copyright law, and creates the possibility of a world where one is virtually unable to use their own computer without the permission of the company that owns the operating system and can be forced to pay every time they open a program. Before the microchip, controlling how someone used a product once they bought it was an impossibility and once a person purchased an item they had defined usage, copying, and sharing rights. Now however software companies, movie studios, and the recording industry are examing and testing technologies that allow them to parcel out "use" rights that limit how many times you can watch a movie you've bought, play a game you've purchased, or listen to a song you've already paid your money for, and it's all now legal under the DMCA.
Her cogent explanations of the incoherencies and vagueness of the DMCA itself were able to show me in easy to understand language the problems with the law and the need for a reform of copyright that matches the public perception of their rights to use the things they buy to learn and develop themselves and yet retains the incentive for creation and development of new works by individuals and industries.