Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates

Adrian Johns, Author
Adrian Johns, Author Univ. of Chicago $35 (640p) ISBN 978-0-226-40118-8
Reviewed on: 01/11/2010
Release date: 01/01/2010
Open Ebook - 636 pages - 978-0-226-40120-1
Open Ebook - 626 pages - 978-1-282-50427-1
Paperback - 626 pages - 978-0-226-40119-5
Show other formats
FORMATS

The recording industry’s panic over illegal downloads is nothing new; a century ago, London publishers faced a similar crisis when “pirate” editions of sheet music were widely available at significantly less cost. Similarly, the debate over pharmaceutical patents echoes an 18th-century dispute over the origins of Epsom salt. These are just two of the historical examples that Johns (The Nature of the Book ) draws upon as he traces the tensions between authorized and unauthorized producers and distributors of books, music, and other intellectual property in British and American culture from the 17th century to the present. Johns’s history is liveliest when it is rooted in the personal—the 19th-century renegade bibliographer Samuel Egerton Brydges, for example, or the jazz and opera lovers who created a thriving network of bootleg recordings in the 1950s—but the shifting theoretical arguments about copyright and authorial property are presented in a cogent and accessible manner. Johns’s research stands as an important reminder that today’s intellectual property crises are not unprecedented, and offers a survey of potential approaches to a solution. 40 b&w illus. (Feb.)

The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X