How to Fix Copyright is one of the most important books concerning cultural growth in the Western world. Mr. Patry explains how copyright laws are insisting on stifling creativity at a time when the internet is making it explode. His argument is that copyright laws are too broad. The laws are not allowing cultural building. The copyright laws have too long of term with two outcomes. Some works are over protected and due to this not allowed to be part of the canon to be built on by newer artists. Others become obscure because the owners can’t be found to release the works even as the internet allows small disperse audiences to grow. Either way the cultural loss is apparent. Copyright does not serve and promote the artist’s interests as much as protecting corporate interests.
The book is very well written, although I would say if you aren’t particularly interested in this issue you may find it a little long.
How to Fix Copyright, William Patry, 2011, Oxford University
If you have read either of my blogs for a period of time you probably know that I am a huge fan of Cory Doctorow. He is one of the most interesting authors of our time, dealing mainly in the near future science fiction aka “the almost now”. Unfortunately, The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (Outspoken Authors) is not one of his book that is set in the immediate future, but rather a future that is a little more distant, where ecoterrorists have tried to wipe out the physical traces of mankind from the distance of the singularity. When he deals with the near future, there is a cutting edge reality that is really interesting. That feeling was missing from this book. However, it was interesting in and of itself, but not my favorite.
The book also includes one of his treatises about copyright. If you haven’t read about his ideas about copyright they are radical and exciting. I read most of these ideas in another of his books, I believe Context, but in a slightly different form. The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow also included an speech he gave a while back. I saw a very similar interview on the internet but the written version was easier to absorb.
If you are new to Cory Doctorow, I would recommend Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom as a better entry point. But if you are already a fan, The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow will give you a nice afternoon of reading.
The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (Outspoken Artist) by Cory Doctorow, 2011