David Bainbridge's Legal Protection of Computer Software (formerly known as Software Copyright Law), seems to have been around a long time. Indeed, it has, since this title has now notched up its fifth edition, published by Tottel earlier this year. The IPKat was not particularly excited when the first edition emerged -- perhaps because the subject-matter itself was so confusing and fast-changing -- but he can say with some confidence that it is a book that has matured through time and it is now a very handy little volume. It is also a perfect example of a work in which the whole is better than the sum of its parts: there aren't any passages that leave the reader speechless in admiration, but it packs a very large number of spot-on references to UK and European law past and present (neither precedent-based systems nor those which lack that discipline can allow themselves the luxury of living solely in the present) and it sensibly declines to provide a generalised account of the voluminous US case law, seriously crossing the Atlantic only in order to explain US doctrine on non-textual copying -- without which the UK's case law is more difficult to appreciate.
Above all, the text assumes no advanced knowledge on the part of the reader and Professor Brainbridge is not afraid to do some entry-level writing, right down to starting the book with a glossary [though the IPKat wouldn't have split its content between technical and legal terms since so many of his former students wouldn't have been sure which words they didn't understand were technical and which legal ...]. The book also addesses the IP/competition law interface which, however much we may grit our teeth in dealing with it, is a live part of EU law that will not go away, especially now that the telecoms sector has so skilfully locked itself into standard-setting bodies. With luck, the sixth edition will have lots of exciting stuff on wikis, blogs and use-generated content -- though the software protection issues concerning these areas are not as sexy as their daily applications.
Bibliographic data: xli + 439 pages. Paperback, £90. ISBNs 1845924509 and 9781845924508. Rupture factor: minimal. Website here
The IPKat is always prejudiced in favour of authors of of IP books whose surnames begin with "Kat", and Public Broadcasting and European Law,
by Irini Katsirea, is no exception. According to the blurb provided by publishers Wolters Kluwer, the question that lies at the heart of this text is this:
"Although EU Member States share a tradition of regulating public broadcasting for the public interest, such regulation has been in decline in recent years. It has been challenged by the emergence of commercial television sworn to the market logic, as well as by satellite services and the Internet. EU law and policy has, under pressure from powerful global forces, abetted that decline. The question thus arises: Do cultural values still matter in European national broadcasting?".The author examines the challenges posed to public service obligations by European Union media law and policy, picking on six jurisdictions for her in-depth analysis -- France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom -- and shows how the commitment of les six to public broadcasting regulation is caught between the Scylla of national political pressures and the Charybdis of market sovereignty. While money and national culture slug it out, the European Commission tries to pour oil on troubled waters with its 'country of origin' principle and European quota rule, via the Television without Frontiers Directive. All of this provides the legal and factual background for an academic soap opera as the various interests pair up, split off, desert their causes and then return to their fold.
The IPKat thinks that Irini has done a jolly thorough job. It's not exactly a laugh-a-minute subject matter, but she has succeeded in making it plausibly interesting to the lay reviewer who would otherwise have spent little of his time pondering it. He would have liked to have seen Sweden among the countries covered if time and resources had permitted, since that jurisdiction has over the years taken its deeply moral, proto-socialist responsibilities for media nannying a good deal further than some of Europe's more laisser-faire countries.
Bibliographic details: xxxii + 445 pages. Hardback. ISBN: 9789041125002. Price in euros €120 and in US dollars $158. Rupture factor: low. Web page here.
Always attracted by bright covers, the IPKat couldn't take his eyes off Brands: Law, Practice and Precedents, authored by solicitor Clive Lawrence and published by Jordans. We learn from the publisher that
"Brands: Law, Practice and Precedents brings the principal bodies of law which affect creation, management, exploitation and protection of brands together in one place, and considers them with particular emphasis on the way in which they are used best to fulfil the branding objectives of organisations today".There's not a lot of law that deals with creation and management of brands, but that's more than made up for by the law that governs their exploitation and protection. And once you've got past that you can read the precedents: there's a Co-existence Agreement, a Design Comission Agreement, an Endorsement Agreement, a Copyright/Design Right Assignment, a Trade Mark Assignment, a Consultancy Agreement, a Merchandising Agreement and a PR/Advertising Relationship Agreement.
The IPKat is not totally sure who the readership is: there's a lot of law in this book, presented in terms of relative simplicity that suggest it may be designed for the non-specialist. Yet it's not a student text book, nor does it pretend to be an encyclopaedic work of reference. The Kat suspects that it may well be aimed at the in-house brand manager. If he's right, then the book may be just the right level for him: it will never turn him into a lawyer if (as is likely) he isn't one already, but it will enable him to do those two neat party tricks that so many in-housers never really learn: (i) to recognise when he has enough of a problem to go and talk to a lawyer about it and (ii) to understand enough of the lawyer's response to be able to act confidently upon it.
Bibliographic details: xxxviii + 543 pages. Hardback, plus CD containing precedents. ISBN: 978 1 84661 102 5. Price £120. Rupture factor: not insubstantial. Web page here.