[Book Review] Copyright and other fairy tales

Copyright And Other Fairy Tales : Hans Christian Andersen and the Commodification of Creativity / Helle Porsdam (Publisher Website, Google Books)

I was WAY too excited upon finding a copy of this through Inter-Library Loan (for those who are not familiar with the full range of Massachusetts ILL offerings, they are quite awesome, including extended ILL options outside of your library's network or beyond).  I would love to own a copy, but with print copies starting at $100, and the ebook at $30, I sadly do not see a copy falling into my hands anytime soon.  

I find it ironic that price is such a barrier to acquiring a copy of this book.  The essays largely discuss the faults of our current (and historical) copyright laws, how they negatively impact the creator and culture, and about remix, copyleft, and open source culture.  While I did find a copy within the state libraries, I found just this single copy that was available for use outside of the library.  At 172 pages including index and footnotes (but not all the blank pages in the back), it does stand as a phenomenal collection of essays on the subject of copyright and culture, but perhaps not standing up to its price tag for either format (my price point for ebooks stands lower than that for print).

Before I get off my soap box, or at least before I change subjects on my soap box, I figure now is a great time to mention unglue.itUnglue.it works as a crowd funding site to purchase copyright from the holder, and then release the title to the wild under a Creative Commons license.  The project does not work for every book, for example The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy probably will never be a viable candidate due to the Disney entanglement regardless of willingness of the Adams estate.  So... I figured why not try and get this book Unglued?  Right now it's just one of many in the "wished for" but if enough people express interest it may get it's own campaign (and here's a handy-dandy link).

Now to get off my soapbox and actually talk about the book.

This book pulls together eight brilliant essays on copyright (and yes, I am a copyright nerd).  As someone who actively follows developments related to copyright and DRM, the essays in this book still took me in new directions.  The different voices are all clear and straightforward, something I value highly when reading academic and trade type publications.  I want a copy of this book because I want to reread it, repeatedly.  I know I did not really absorb everything, and I want to remedy that.  I like the directions the different essays made me think.  If the social issues surrounding copyright have ever been of interest to you, read this book.  If you've ever been curious about the issues surrounding file sharing or remixing, about cultural ownership, about public domain, or about copyright and freedom of speech, read this book.  If you have no clue what anything I just listed means I recommend reading this book, or one of the many books out there on these topics.  They are useful areas of knowledge to have.

Additional reading:
Go to Hellman - this is the blog of Eric Hellman, one of the forces behind Unglue.it and a man with a fantastic sense of humor (he had me at his blog title).
Lawrence Lessig: Re-examining the remix (video) - among other things, Lessig talks about Disney as a remix artist.

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