Techdirt Reading List: Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars From Gutenberg To Gates

from the the-pirates-go-way-back dept

We’re back again with another in our weekly reading list posts of books we think our community will find interesting and thought provoking. Once again, buying the book via the Amazon links in this story also helps support Techdirt.

This week, we’ve got a massive tome of a book in Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates by Adrian Johns. Weighing in at over 600 pages, this is a highly readable and entertaining look at the fact that the whole concept of “intellectual property piracy” (as much of a misleading term as that may be) didn’t just start with the rise of the internet, but has been going back centuries.

This book really helps put into perspective the fights over the past few years, and shows how these battles concerning the freedom of information and knowledge go back pretty much since the dawn of the ability to create “content” in some fixed form. Even better, it also highlights how over and over and over again, what starts out as “piracy” actually turns out to be key innovations that drives the whole world of culture forward. It’s the kind of perspective that is sorely needed — but frequently lacking — from debates over the topic. While I’ve been familiar with many historical examples of fights over “infringement,” this book took my knowledge and understanding to new levels. It’s packed with useful information.

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