Book charts precedent-setting skirmishes in ‘Hollywood’s Copyright Wars’
In our Internet-saturated age of sampling and mixing and fingertip access to a world of music, images and media riches, the issues of copyright law and protection of intellectual property are becoming ever more vague and thorny. And Hollywood is in many crucial ways the epicenter of the ongoing debate.
Since the earliest days of film technology, when Thomas Edison employed aggressive lawsuits to protect his patents and copyrights, to recent court battles involving YouTube and Universal Studios, the motion picture industry has realized its high stakes in influencing laws concerning piracy, copy protection and public domain.
And now author and film scholar Peter Decherney brings some clarity and historical perspective to the tangle of issues with “Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet” (Columbia University Press, $34.50), a fairly dense but highly readable examination of how the film, television and digital media industries have struggled to influence and adapt to copyright laws.
Decherney, an associate professor of cinema studies and English at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “Hollywood and the Culture Elite: How the Movies Became American,” has studied and written extensively on issues of copyright law, intellectual property protection and government regulation of Hollywood. In 2009, he was named Academy Film Scholar by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences.
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