Book review on Hannibal Travis’ Copyright Class Struggle

Simultaneously with other book review from the end of 2019, I completed another piece on Hannibal Travis’ Copyright Class Struggle – Creative Economies in a Social Media Age. This was a highly interesting book – and it is available on the website of the JIPLP.

Here is the opening paragraph of the paper:

Copyright systems are typically classified in two main groups, based on their origins and their core elements: the utilitarian ‘copyright’ regime, which found its origin in England, on the one hand; and the continental European ‘author’s rights’ (‘droit d’auteur’/‘Urheberrecht’) regime(s), on the other. The author’s rights systems are based on and are strongly connected with the natural law concept of authorship and moral rights. The ‘copyright’ regimes tend to focus more on economic rights, but, without doubt, the concept of authorship plays a central role in these countries too. In some sense, the ideal of authorship has historically meant some kind of ‘lone wolf’ mentality. The ‘lonely genius’, the ‘individual’ has always been idealized, and a great amount of authors still work alone these days. The ‘lone wolf’ mentality has been, however, challenged by the emergence of the ‘creative industries’, where the need for collaborative creative endeavours has grown significantly. Music and movie production, broadcasting, the development of computer programs and making of databases all need massive teamwork: from creative authors to technicians, and to producers/investors. Technological innovation has had profound effects on the status quo of copyright (and related rights) protection, ranging from the detrimental effects of online infringements to the outdating of the concept of neighbouring rights. Technology also offers the chance for newcomers—including end-users—to affect the future of the creative industries.

The book by Hannibal Travis addresses such new challenges of our social media age—and the responses of the legislature and of the creative industries. More precisely, as Professor Travis notes, ‘[t]his book is about the ways in which different communities within an economy articulate their interests in new creative possibilities, and in controlling new expressions of ideas.’

And here is a link to the freely available review.

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