Book Review: Research Handbook on Intellectual Property in Media and Entertainment

Media and entertainment legal experts seem to have such fun. Or at least, they had quite some fun writing the chapter titles for Megan Richardson and Sam Ricketson's edited volume, "Research Handbook on Intellectual Property in Media and Entertainment." With titles including "Someone is angry on the internet," and "One ring to rule them all," the book promises to provide a healthy dose of pop culture in addition to analysis of IP.

The book includes 17 chapters examining various current topics on media & entertainment law ranging from fair use, live performances, moral rights to publicity rights and others. The authors are generally UK or Australasia based, with some contributors from the US and Singapore. Cases cited throughout the text come from a wider selection including the EU, Europe and Canada.  According to the index, Game of Thrones is mentioned on five pages and Fifty Shades of Grey once [Merpel was delighted to discover a reference to SpongeBob SquarePants, as she had been dreaming about krabby patties.]

Reviving some turn-of-the-century references, a chapter entitled "The Dancing Baby: copyright law, YouTube and music videos," by Matthew Rimmer, analyses copyright litigation in musical works and sound recordings with a focus on video sites like YouTube. His chapter looks through two key cases including Viacom's 2007 complaint against YouTube, and the curious case of Stephanie Lenz, Prince and Universal music (in which Lenz's video of her children playing, with Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" song playing in the background, was subjected to a takedown notice). Rimmer ends with a call to reform digital copyright laws.

Elizabeth Aden's chapter, "A matter of respect: the moral rights of the entertainer," starts with musings on the role of entertainment in society, as an activity "to which human beings naturally resort once their basic needs have been satisfied." [Merpel asks if that would include reading this book?] She then takes the reader through various definitions and approaches to moral rights across jurisdictions.  The chapter examines the relevant terms, and notes that moral rights do not exist across all copyrighted works, e.g. U.K., U.S. and New Zealand provisions which prohibit moral rights attached to computer programs and computer-generated works. The chapter proceeds to cover the various aspects of moral rights, such as the right to be identified, and concludes with a look at exercising these rights and post mortem arrangements.

No, not that kind of sponge!
Victoria Sponge Cake, by Kelly Hunter
In, "The game's the thing: property, priorities and perceptions in the video games industries," Daithi Mac Sithigh looks at the debated status of video games in copyright law. He details three copyright models for video games: the general model, the game-specific model and the player rights model.  In the general model, no particular significance is attributed to games. This approach does not entirely clarify the tension between games as being both software and artistic/musical/film, but the author notes provides the game industry with options. In the second, game-specific model, games are treated as sui generis, although the model is fairly embryonic as both the technology and policy related to digital evolve. In the player rights model, the final option, Mac Sithigh argues for a player-focused approach to copyright. In this model, the role of the player should have stronger role in copyright and one that takes into account the unequal bargaining positions of players and platforms in agreements such as EULAs and controls such as DRM.

The Research Handbook on Intellectual Property in Media & Entertainment provides a variety of views on emerging trends in the changing landscape of media and entertainment. The book will appeal to legal experts interested in the topic, researchers and students. The Research handbook on intellectual property in media and entertainment, by Richardson, M. & Ricketson, S., is published by Edward Elgar Publishing. (2017). ISBN: 9781784710781. Available from the publisher here for £135 in hardback. Rupture factor: Medium, a substantial 528 pages.
Book Review: Research Handbook on Intellectual Property in Media and Entertainment Book Review: Research Handbook on Intellectual Property in Media and Entertainment Reviewed by Nicola Searle on Sunday, November 12, 2017 Rating: 5

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