New Directions In Copyright Law, Volume 1, has provided the IPKat with some fairly arresting reading of late. Edited by Fiona Macmillan (right), a professor at the School of Law, Birkbeck (University of London), this collection of essays was published earlier this year by Edward Elgar Publishing (no relation of the Enigma Variations ...).
The publisher's website says:
"As one of the most flexible of the intellectual property rights, copyright law is under constant pressure to adapt and expand in the face of new and sometimes unforeseen challenges and developments. This book is the first in an important new six volume series whose aim is to consider the purpose, role, function and future of the copyright system. The book, and indeed the series, comprises thoughtful, critical and often challenging contributions from an international, multidisciplinary network of scholars. It brings together perspectives on copyright from law, politics, economics, cultural studies and social theory in an effort to forge a truly coherent and meaningful agenda for the future of copyright".Both the contents and the list of contributors suggest that there's lots of good stuff to come in the next five volumes. Favourite features in this one include
* "From Pax Americana to Lex Americana: American Legal and Cultural Hegemony" by Danish academic Helle Porsdam, an accessible if inevitably generalised tour d'horizon of the significance of the US's tendency to call the shots (somewhat counterbalanced by the sheer weight of non-American numbers in bodies such as WIPO and the WTO);At £59.95 for nine first-rate essays, spanning 248 pages, this tome represents a good buy. It won't be much use if all you're interested in is day-to-day practice, but if you want to know how and why we still tolerate copyright today, what we might do to it and -- critically -- what it might do to us, then this is the book.
* QMIPRI guru Guido Westkamp's "Convergence of IP Rights and the Establishment of 'Hybrid' Protection under TRIPs", which raises uncomfortable questions for both current and future evolution of legal concepts in the field of IP;
* A rather good piece by Irish solicitor John Cahir (left) on the preference for digital rights management-ordered markets (and therefore a potent combination of technology and contract law) over the ineffectiveness of copyright as we know it.