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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Two paradoxes and a paradigm: a tale of three books

Neil Netanel's Copyright's Paradox was such a cool book title, and this was a book published by his very good friends at Oxford University Press, that the IPKat confidently expected to receive a complimentary copy, if not an actual review copy.  That was back in 2008 and, while he has checked the mailbox from time to time for signs of inward-rushing paradoxes, the tempting tome still hasn't arrived.  He was really looking forward to discovering what that paradox was all about.  Surely it wasn't going to be something about copyright not being a right to copy ...

Anyway, the years have rolled by -- and two calendar years are equated with 24 cat years according to some knowledgeable folk -- and the Kat has had to resort to subterfuge in order to discover what the paradox is:
"Providing a vital economic incentive for much of society's music, art, and literature, copyright is widely considered "the engine of free expression"--but it is also used to stifle news reporting, political commentary, historical scholarship, and even artistic expression. In Copyright's Paradox, Neil Weinstock Netanel explores the tensions between copyright law and free speech, revealing the unacceptable burdens on expression that copyright can impose. Tracing the conflict across both traditional and digital media, Netanel examines the remix and copying culture at the heart of current controversies related to the Google Book Search litigation, YouTube and MySpace, hip-hop music, and digital sampling. The author juxtaposes the dramatic expansion of copyright holders' proprietary control against the individual's newly found ability to digitally cut, paste, edit, remix, and distribute sound recordings, movies, TV programs, graphics, and texts the world over. He tests whether, in light of these and other developments, copyright still serves as a vital engine of free expression and assesses how copyright does--and does not--burden free speech. Taking First Amendment values as his lodestar, Netanel offers a crucial, timely call to redefine the limits of copyright so it can most effectively promote robust debate and expressive diversity--and he presents a definitive blueprint for how this can be accomplished".
So now we know [Merpel's not convinced that this is really a paradox, any more than it's a paradox that the on-off button on his Katphone both turns the device on and off ...].  If you want to know more, you can still buy the book from OUP's website here. For bibliographic nerds who like to memorise ISBNs, here are a couple of crackers:  13:9780195137620 and 10:0195137620.  The book is available in hard and soft formats, at the very reasonable price of  $34.95.


The next paradox can be found in the title of Intellectual Property and Human Rights: a Paradox, edited by that distinguished gentleman Professor Willem Grosheide (Centre for Intellectual Property Law, Utrecht University, The Netherlands).  His team has a 'something old, something new' flavour to it as old favourites like Rochelle Cooper Dreyfuss, Jan Brinkhof, Chuck McManis and Martin J. Adelman rub metaphorical shoulders with names with whom this Kat was hitherto unfamiliar such as Madeleine de Cock Buning (who tackles that fertile ground for paradoxes, convergence in copyright), the confidently assertive Joost Smiers ("Is copyright fit for the 21st century? No!") and Lucky Belder.

What then does publisher Edward Elgar have to say about this title? Tantalisingly, it omits any mention of the "p" word, leaving it for the sentient and attentive reader to decide for him/herself:
"In the modern era where the rise of the knowledge economy is accompanied, if not facilitated, by an ever-expanding use of intellectual property rights, this timely book provides a much needed explanation to the relationship between intellectual property law and human rights law.

The contributors promote the view that this relationship should be central to the analysis of many of the profound problems that nation states and the international community encounter today, be they scientific, technological or cultural. The book is divided into sections covering the law and its trends, IP rights as human rights and human rights as restrictions to IP rights.

This stimulating book will appeal to academics, postgraduate students, national and international public authorities and those involved with international organizations in the fields of intellectual property law and human rights law".
If you want to play "spot the paradox" you can order the book from Edward Elgar's website here.  Helpful hint: the Kat's friends Charlotte Waelde and Abbe Brown actually say "paradox" in the title of their chapter.  Further bibliographical data: the book is published this year, it's a hardback and it has ix + 317 pages.  The ISBN is 978 1 84844 447 8 and, if you manage to buy it anywhere other than EE's website, it'll set you back £89.95 instead of the £80.96 which it costs with the publisher's discount.  This book is also available as an ebook (ISBN 978 1 84980 204 8).


That's enough of paradoxes.  Now for a paradigmAn Emerging Intellectual Property Paradigm: Perspectives from Canada, edited by another of the IPKat's friends, Professor Ysolde Gendreau (Université de Montréal, Canada).  While this volume -- like Neil Netanel's -- was published in 2008, it must have taken a long time to reach the Kat. Paradigms are easier to comprehend than paradoxes, but sometimes less easy to recognise without someone else pointing them out to you [Merpel says this is because the existence of a paradox (like a parasol, parakeet or parachute) can be objectively verified while a paradigm (like a paragon) isn't identified as such until someone decrees it to be so].  Anyway, as the publishers say:
"In this book, reputed experts highlight the special features of Canadian intellectual property law. Situated at the crossroads [or dead-end, Merpel wonders] between legal traditions in Europe and the United States, Canada’s intellectual property laws blend various elements from these regions and offer innovative approaches. The chapters focus primarily on patents, trademarks, and copyright, covering both historical and contemporary developments. They are designed to bring perspective to and reflect upon what has become in recent years a very rich intellectual property environment.

Dealing with the characteristic features of Canadian intellectual property law, this book will be of great interest to scholars and researchers, and undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students of comparative and international intellectual property law, as well as those concerned with industrial property law and copyright law".
Says the IPKat, whether it can be argued that Canada offers a paradigm for the dynamic fusion of legal cultures at a technological crisis point is a matter for debate.  But there is no debate as to the general health of legal scholarship, certainly in the field of intellectual property, in Canada. Professor Gendreau and her cadre of contributors have established that beyond all reasonable doubt.

You can order this book, with the publisher's discount, here.  That reduces your bill from £79.95 to £71.96. The book is xxv + 318 pages long, in both hardback (ISBN 978 1 84720 597 1) and ebook (ISBN 978 1 84844 502 4) formats.  The cover, unfortunately, only comes in pink, but publishers Edward Elgar presumably know a thing or two about their target market and it just wouldn't do in blue ...

1 comment:

Tevildo said...

"Reputed" experts? Someone says they might be experts, but the editors have no proof? I suppose that "reputable experts" sounds too tautological. "Experts of high repute" is a bit nineteenth-century, but I think it's what was being aimed at.

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