How to Fix Copyright

William Patry. Oxford Univ., $21.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-19-976009-1
In a follow-up to his 2009 Moral Panic and the Copyright Wars, 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. The result is a book that shifts easily from tart social commentary—such as the disconnect of making students sit through industry-sponsored lectures on how downloading hurts creativity while at the same time cutting art and music classes from curriculums—to the more practical impacts of product cycles. Patry’s message is simple: copyright is not the basis of creativity, and piling bad legislation and sweeping legal controls on top of our already groaning system will hurt, not help, our creative culture. “The proxy battle for control of technology and markets through copyright laws must stop,” Patry argues. Insightful, impeccably researched, and prescriptive, Patry’s vision of copyright should resonate with today’s creators—and infuriate yesterday’s media and entertainment conglomerates. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/2011
Release date: 01/01/2012
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