- 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
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,852,116 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.
Top customer reviews
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.
Litman's explanation of how Congress has essentially abdicated its responsibilities by turning over the drafting of copyright law to the entrenched business interests is scary. But more frightening are the implications: When major chunks of our culture are locked behind individual use licenses, little room is left for innovation and creativity. The end result, I fear, will be a world where every last piece of information and our entertainment will be fed to us by Disney, Time Warner, and a few other mega-corporations. Not that I have anything against those firms, but a 35-page menu listing only variations of spaghetti is not my idea of fine dining.
Copyright used to be about a bargain - society gave limited rights to copyright owners to encourage creativity - in return society obtained building blocks for further creativity. But the model has changed - now the discussion (such as it is) is about the absolute property rights of the media company. (We don't even talk about "authors" anymore - who wrote "Finding Nemo" anyway?) The result is that the public's end of the bargain has been taken away - fair use is of little use anymore, and the first sale doctrine (which allows you to read, re-read, loan, sell, or destroy this book) has been emptied of any meaning with regards to digital media.
Litman does a great job in explaining how ugly the current copyright laws are, and she demonstrates clearly how the system threatens to stifle innovative new ways to communicate and entertain via the Internet. There is clearly room to build on her arguments to demonstrate that the current regime will likely stifle creativity in general. For more on that general theme, I recommend following up Litman's book with one or two by Lawrence Lessig.
All in all, this book is an easy-to-read but very illuminating starting point in understanding exactly how threatening, and intolerable, the copyright regime has begun. Read it, and weep.