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Digital Copyright Paperback – Jul 5 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; 2 edition (July 5 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159102420X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591024200
  • Product Dimensions: 22.7 x 15.2 x 1.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,677,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover
This book is essentially a primer on the mess we've gotten into with regards to copyrights and digital media. Litman explains both why the current copyright regime is an ill fit to the "Information Age" as well as how we got here.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be an easy read over the weekend and very comprehensible, even to the layperson who does not have a legal background yet who might have interest.
The bottom line is that copyright law and the meshing of digitization is not black and white yet is gray and murky. Until case law and the creatives reach some kind of a negotiation or a consensus, it will continue to be murky.
And, in our society we may have to agree to disagree with certain elements.
One of the strongest points brought out in this book was that if people don't believe in the law, they will not uphold it and there is not a lot that the government can do. I'm certainly not condoning illegal behavior yet there is a strong point to be made.
Our law was supposed to be written as one that would flex with the times yet we've found that digitization challenges the perceptions behind the laws that were set early and into the mid 1900's.
In conclusion, there is no conclusion and the story is still being written yet this book provides an excellent historical context for why copyright is as sensitive and muddy as it is and provides a good look at the dichotomies between the copyright exclusive owners and users.
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By A Customer on Oct. 16 2002
Format: Hardcover
After glancing at some reviews, I had high hopes of getting a more in depth and precise understanding of digital copyright law. What I found though was a book, while effectively advancing some broad arguments, did not provide me with the kind of in depth detail that I would expect from a first rate book. At the end of the book, I cannot say that I better understand what is legal, what is not legal, and what is unclear in the modern age of digital copyright.
If you want an overview and critique of the context and process in which copyright laws have been passed, then this book might be for you. But if you're looking for a detailed explanation and investigation of current copyright laws, I think this book will leave you hanging.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a well-written and interesting history of copyright as it applies to digital works. But, it does not, as the title suggests, tell you much about protecting digital property. The material is informative and has the ring of a very long law review article (or perhaps more likely, a collection of law review articles). Recommended for scholars and curious bystanders of the digital copyright wars but not recommended for those actually trying to protect work on the Net or formulate a policy for exploiting works.
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