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How to Fix Copyright 1st Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199760091
ISBN-10: 0199760098
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Editorial Reviews


"How to Fix Copyright is full of smart, sensible ideas." --The Wall St. Journal

"A book that is incandescent in every sense of the word...How to Fix Copyright is a superbly argued, enraging book on the state of copyright law today." -- Boing Boing

"William Patry, Senior Copyright Counsel at Google and one of America's foremost experts on copyright law, offers an insightful, reasonable series of fixes to our increasingly outmoded copyright system. But perhaps the author's greatest triumph is that he makes his complex subject seem familiar and even entertaining. In well-written, easily digestible sections, Patry puts the complex legal, procedural, and constitutional underpinnings of copyright law in context with the rapidly evolving, tech-fueled lives of creators and users. Insightful, impeccably researched, and prescriptive, Patry's vision of copyright should resonate with today's creators - and infuriate yesterday's media and entertainment conglomerates." --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

About the Author

William Patry is Senior Copyright Counsel at Google Inc. He previously served as copyright counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary; as a Policy Planning Advisor to the U.S. Register of Copyrights; as a law professor; and as a private lawyer. He is the author of the definitive eight volume treatise on copyright law, Patry on Copyright, a separate treatise on the fair use doctrine, Patry on Fair Use which has been in print since 1985, as well as many law review articles, including one with Judge Richard Posner.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199760098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199760091
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 1 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,129,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bill Patry has published another essential work on copyright law. Drawing on his experience as a congressional staffer working on copyright legislation, his time at the Copyright Office, his many years of legal scholarship (including writing a multi-volume treatise on copyright law and the only specialized treatise on fair use) and many years as a private practice copyright lawyers and litigator, Patry has written two important books geared towards a more general readership. First, with Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars, Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars Patry set out his view of how the law of copyright has been distorted by content owners (and their lobbyists) and how extremist rhetoric on both sides of the copyright "wars" have managed to change the law in ways that weaken its ability to serve copyright's original purposes. That book was all about identifying problems.

Now, with How to Fix Copyright, Patry builds upon his prior work and includes various ideas and starting points for solutions. No, as he points out in his forward, he does not extract an over-simplified bullet-point list of action items at the end of the book. Such an approach would be silly and unproductive, given the complexity of the problems and would give a false impression that Patry has (or possibly could) provide simple, pat or "finished" solutions to all of the problems in copyright law. The suggestions are, rather, discussed throughout the book and at the very least provide a helpful starting point for working on the identified problems.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The world is always more or less divided between two kind of people. In the case of the current "copyright war", the world is divided between those that want to derogate Copyright and those that want to derogate Internet. Mr Patry belongs to neither group and so he should be listened with attention: he wants to reform the copyright system as it exists. His opinions are backed up with facts and he states clearly what are the principal changes that our system needs.

Mr. Patry argues that copyright laws have been subverted by entrenched interests. To fight this he offers a simple solution: any proposed changes to these laws must be backed by empirical evidence. You want to extend the term of protection because you claim that by doing so more works will be created? Prove it. You want to fight peer to peer networks because they cost jobs? How many? Where is the evidence?

For Mr. Patry a copyright system for the XXI century is one that helps authors get paid and allows the consumers to copy, adapt and remix the work. In that way, both the author and the public will be benefited by the law. In order to achieve this, Mr. Patry proposes shorter term of protection, more formalities in order to claim protection and a complete renovation -and extension- of the legitimate uses of protected works.

The author is not always fair with traditional gatekeepers like publishing houses, studios, etc. It is true that they, more than anyone, are responsible for the archaic copyright laws that we have to live with. But it is also true that they continue to provide a valuable service to creators and that they have being doing this for a long time.

As the copyright system is more or less the same throughout the world this book is a must read in the US or in Argentina. And as Mr. Patry has an agile prose and illustrates his opinion with interesting facts, lawyers and laymen will enjoy and find this book useful.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What did copyright do to Danger Mouse's "Grey Album" -- which mashed up the Beatle's White Album and Jay-Z's Black Album? ([...]) How long does it take to clear rights in old records and books, and what does that do to the ability of the public to enjoy them? Do lengthy copyright terms really promote more creativity?

In HOW TO FIX COPYRIGHT, Bill Patry answers hundreds of questions like this, combining his profound knowledge of copyright law with a limitless appreciation for all forms of culture. The result is a devastating indictment of how Hollywood and the record industry have generated a legal regime that crushes the ability of writers and artists to do what great creators have always done -- draw on existing culture to create new works.

This is a superb book that deserves a wide audience.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Patry's previous general-readership book, Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars, called for "reform" of the copyright system without a word about how to achieve it. In his own Amazon.com review of his book, he promised a sequel that would discuss how to reform the copyright system.

Too bad this book isn't it.

The title promises much but the book delivers not much of anything. In fact, apart from a little teaser in the introduction, you have to wait until p. 176 to get any actual ideas about how the system should be reformed. They aren't bad ideas -- shorten the term of copyright, make copyright registration mandatory instead of automatic, pass strong orphan works legislation, etc. -- but little that we haven't heard before from Lessig, Litman, Vaidhyanathan, and various others. There's periodic talk about how copyright is necessary to ensure that content creators get paid, but little about how to fix the system so that this actually happens -- just a lot of material about how the system is unfairly tilted towards the interests of major media companies.

Yet there is one really excellent idea in the book: whatever changes are made to the copyright system, they should be made on the basis of hard evidence (rather than "faith") about how the proposed changes will improve how the system meets its objectives of maximizing the creative works available to the public by providing incentives to content creators. Patry's absolutely right! Unfortunately he offers little advice about *how* such hard evidence is to be obtained. There have been many studies on this subject; most are either methodologically lacking or horribly biased. How we get rid of these defects would have been a far more worthwhile use of the remaining pages in this than the copyleft truisms that occupy them.
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