Some recent books

A Defense Of Intellectual Property Rights, by Richard A. Spinello and Maria Bottis, is that rare creature these days -- a book on intellectual property rights that is not predicated by the considerations of economics and the demands of the marketplace. A little unfashionably, the authors argue the case that intellectual property rights are justified on non-economic grounds. Then they get a tiny little bit more fashionable, since they believe that the rationale for this moral justification is primarily inspired by the philosophy of John Locke (in this they are not alone: Lior Zemer has waved the Locke supporters' club banner when justifying his views on authorship in copyright, and Uma Suthersanen too has favoured his approach). Adds the publisher's web-blurb:
"In the process of defending Locke, the authors confront the deconstructionist critique of intellectual property rights and remove the major barriers interfering with a proper understanding of authorial entitlement. The book also familiarizes the reader with the rich historical and legal tradition [the words 'rich historical and legal tradition' depress this Kat: they remind him of all the things the British government has changed for the sake of change in recent years. It's almost as though being a rich tradition is a sort of death warrant] behind intellectual property protection".
Richard Spinello is Associate Research Professor in the Carroll School of Management, Boston College, US; Maria Bottis lectures in the Department of Archive and Library Sciences of the Ionian University, Greece. This combination conjures up images of dynamic management skills blended with patient research lovingly harvested from the dusty vaults of archived materials. At any rate, it works well. Defending IP rights in this cynical age is about as much fun as proving the existence of fairies, but at least these authors have done a credible job of it. Like ants, humans are tireless workers in their various creative activities; unlike ants, they are individuals and the protection of their differences -- and the cultivation of the personal output which distinguishes them from one another -- can itself provide a reason for protection.

Bibliographic details. Date of publication 2009. ix + 218 pp. Hardback. ISBN 978 1 84720 395 3. £59.95 (price with publisher's online discount £53.96). Book's web page here. Rupture factor: small.

Global Pharmaceutical Policy: Ensuring Medicines for Tomorrow’s World, by Frederick M. Abbott (Edward Ball Eminent Scholar Professor of International Law, Florida State University College of Law) and Graham Dukes (External Professor of Drug Policy Studies, Institute of General Practice and Community Health, University of Oslo, Norway).

According to the publisher's web-blurb:

"Pharmaceuticals play a central role in health care throughout the world. The pharmaceutical industry is beset with difficulties as increasing research and development expenditure yields fewer new treatments. Public and private budgets strain under the weight of high prices and limited access. The world’s poor see little effort to address diseases prevalent in less affluent societies, while the world’s wealthy are overusing prescription drugs, risking their health and wasting resources [Alas, it doesn't need a book to support these contentions, which are the 'givens' faced by pharma IP owners, generic manufacturers, policy-makers and patients alike].
As the global economic crisis exacerbates pressure on health care budgets, a new presidential administration in Washington, DC has committed to broad health care reform. These circumstances form the backdrop for this extraordinarily timely examination of the global system for the development, production, distribution and use of medicines. The authors are acknowledged experts in the fields of pharmaceutical law and policy, with many years experience advising governments, multilateral organizations and policy-makers on issues involving innovation, access and use of medicines. Supported by a team of independent scientists, doctors and lawyers, they take an insightful look at the issues surrounding global regulation of the pharmaceutical sector, and offer pragmatic suggestions for reform [To talk of 'global systems' and 'global regulation' is to take a lofty view of the various means, at once complementary and contradictory, that link the development, testing, distribution, sale and use of pharma products in the linked worlds of the rich, the developing and the economically stunted nations].

This book will be of interest to government policy-makers, members of industry, healthcare professionals, teachers, students and lawyers in the fields of public health, intellectual property and international trade".
At the heart of this book lies chapter 4, "The global regulatory environment: quality, safety and efficacy", which summarises and emphasises one of the work's most important points. The traditional notions of consumer protection, based on the presumption in favour of caveat emptor, are entirely inadequate in the field of medicine. This is the message that will remain with the reader when the data, the tables and the analysis have all faded into the background of the reader's consciousness.

Bibliographic details. Publication date 2009. x and 308 pp. Hardback. ISBN 978 1 84844 090 6. Price £ 75 (with publisher's online discount £ 67.50). Book's web page. here. Rupture factor: light.

Intellectual Property Policy Reform: Fostering Innovation and Development, edited by Christopher Arup (Professor of Business Law, Monash University, Australia) and William van Caenegem (Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, Bond University, Australia), contains contributions from not all but at least some of the 'usual suspects': the names of such productive souls as Peter Drahos, William Kingston and Matthew Rimmer are to be found among them.

So what does the publisher say about this text? According to the book's website:
"This state-of-the-art study argues that reforms to intellectual property (IP) should be based on the ways IP is interacting with new technologies, business models, work patterns and social mores. It identifies emerging IP reform proposals and experiments, indicating first how more rigor and independence can be built into the grant of IP rights so that genuine innovations are recognized [but this still leaves the question as to who does the recognising ...].

The original contributions illustrate how IP rights can be utilised, through open source licensing systems and private transfers, to disseminate knowledge. Reforms are recommended. The discussion takes in patents, copyright, trade secrets and relational obligations, considering the design of legislative directives, default principles, administrative practices, contractual terms and license specifications.

Providing contemporary empirical studies and covering public administration, collective and open approaches, and regulation of private transactions, this comprehensive book will prove a stimulating read for academics and students of law, business and management and development studies. Government policy makers and regulators as well as IP managers and advocates will also find much to provoke thought".
Of particular interest to this reader was Part II, dealing with Open Intellectual Property Systems. Matthew Rimmer's contribution on Wikipedia, collective authorship and the politics of knowledge is welcome, since serious contributions to the literature of the wiki from IP authors are in short supply.

Bibliographic details. Published 2009. viii + 324 pp. Hardback 978 1 84844 163 7. £ 79.95 (with publisher's online discount £ 71.96). Book's web page here. Rupture factor: small.
Some recent books Some recent books Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, November 25, 2009 Rating: 5

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