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Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity
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Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  122 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Copyright reflects far more than economic interests. Embedded within conflicts over royalties and infringement are cultural values--about race, class, access, ownership, free speech, and democracy--which influence how rights are determined and enforced. Questions of legitimacy--of what constitutes "intellectual property" or "fair use," and of how to locate a precise moment ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by New York University Press (first published 2001)
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Adam Ross
This was a captivating, important book, which I read as part of my ongoing research into modern copyright law, which now extends into the far corners of everything, transforming culture into commodity, creativity into control, the public domain into a vacant house, the destruction of fair use, and more. This book was helpful because it outlines the growth of copyright law from "Bloody" Mary Tudor all the way down beyond the Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, and shows how copyright was originally ...more
Mike Ehlers
Interesting history of copyright in the US, with emphasis on the Constitutional directive that it support creativity. I expected to like this book more than I did, as it is cited by a lot of authors I've been reading on the subject. Plus, I already figured I'd agree with his position in the debate on IP law. However, the prose is at times repetitive, and for every passage where the author lets personality show through, there seems to be an offsetting, academically-dry passage.

In the end, it is
A fairly good overview of the history of copyright arguments in the U.S. including precedents upon which they have been based. Things start falling apart in the final chapter on the digital age, but in part, that is because the book needs to be updated to reflect some of what has happened since its publication. In spite of the argument to the contrary that the author makes, CD sales are actually much lower now than they used to be, for instance. It is not at all clear that the evidence and histo ...more
May 12, 2007 Miraese rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who make film or music
this book is a really interesting exploration of the history of copyright law. From literature, to film to music in America, including Led Zepplin stealing from blues singers to Hip Hop artists like Spoonie G and Biz Markie sampling, this book breaks down how corporations have manipulated the gov't and legislation to expanding the rights of content producers from an original copyright of 14 years + a 14 year option, to the current law: life of creator + 70 years. It's cool too cause it's got a t ...more
Though at times a bit dry and repetitive, Vaidhyanathan's book surveys the history and development of copyright law and points out the gross lengths by which it has deviated from the original intent. Though he offers few solutions or even concrete suggestions, Vaidhyanathan writes compellingly and passionately, pulling examples from many of the creative arts.
As a writer of a continuing series of archival and historical information that will never be published for public use, it is interesting to learn of so much of copyright law has stymied creativity where it could lead to the need to backpedal on what seems to be corporate control and legislative overreach.
I learned more from this book than I thought possible. It touches just the right balance between technical detail and readability. Since the subject matter is complex, it is a bit dense, but the payoff of what you get out of it is worth it.
I wrote a review of this for RCCS a while back. (seems like another life now...)
good intro to copyright law - a bit dry for casual reading but the author has that "favorite professor" wry yet energetic take on the material
Catherine Siemann
Fairly basic from my perspective, but a good introduction for someone who hasn't studied copyright law.
Full of info and whatever. Not entirely thrilling
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Apr 26, 2015
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  • Freedom of Expression: Resistance and Repression in the Age of Intellectual Property
  • The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind
  • Digital Copyright: Protecting Intellectual Property on the Internet
  • The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World
  • Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates
  • Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership
  • Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars
  • MP3: The Meaning of a Format (Sign, Storage, Transmission)
  • Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future
  • Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays
  • Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America
  • The Social Life of Information
  • From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism
  • The Pentagon of Power (The Myth of the Machine, Vol 2)
  • Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age
  • Drugs, Oil & War: The United States in Afghanistan, Colombia & Indochina
  • The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law
  • Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America
Robertson Family Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia.

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin.

B.A., University of Texas at Austin.

Siva Vaidhyanathan is a cultural historian and media scholar, and is currently a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. From 1999 through the summer of 2007 he worked in the Department of Culture and Communication at New York Universi
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