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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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2015 @ 1:38pm

    I do wonder why the inventions that start out as "piracy" and end up being key innovations often return to a regime of extremist protectionism.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2015 @ 1:47pm

      Re:

      Their failure to innovate leads to only one outcome: protectionism.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Nov 2015 @ 2:02pm

        Re: Re:

        You misunderstand -

        Why, when innovations break through the constant accusations of "piracy" and eventually supplant the old way of consuming media, is the reaction by those in charge always the same?

        Protectionism protectionism protectionism.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          JoeCool (profile), 12 Nov 2015 @ 4:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          He already said why - innovators usually quit innovating as soon as they become the standard. Once they do so, they switch to protectionism.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            JoeCool (profile), 12 Nov 2015 @ 4:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Oh, if you mean the ROOT CAUSE of the switch, it's almost ALWAYS when lawyers infest the company. It's an infection that causes the company to rot from the inside.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Nov 2015 @ 12:09pm

    "Intellectual Property" is not possible. Intelect is not material.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Monday (profile), 13 Nov 2015 @ 2:03pm

    Ordering the book.

    What do I need to click in ordering this from Amazon? The "donate to Charity?"

    First time ordering through your link...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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