1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Patrons, curators, inventors and thieves

Patrons, curators, inventors and thieves is the title of a book which has just been published by Palgrave Macmillan and carries the subtitle "The storytelling contest of the cultural industries in the digital age."

The author is 1709 Blog friend Jonathan Wheeldon, currently a Chartered Accountant and Visiting Fellow at Henley Business School with an impressive professional background as an executive across a wide range of content industries.

What is this book about? This blogger has not yet had the time to finish reading it, so she will revert to the explanation provided on the publisher's website:

"This book is a rare and unusually reflective insider account of the transformational challenges of the cultural industries over the past 15 years. Opening with a fresh new perspective on music industry history, it explores how the industrial world evolves more by narrative plausibility than by strategic precision, recognizing that corporate identity, purpose and power can be both reinforced and subverted by modifications to various cultural master-plots and their traditional heroes and villains. 

Of most interest are the insights into the strategic struggles faced by corporate managers and by intellectual property policymakers dealing with the seismic new millennium shifts in technology, communications and related social behaviour. Illustrating how a satisfactory 'postprivate' master-narrative of social equality in the digital age has yet to emerge, the book also helps to loosen the industrial-political deadlock in the debate over copyright reform. It is essential reading for anyone who takes an interest in the changing processes of creation, dissemination and industrialization of knowledge and culture."

3 comments:

Andy J said...

Wow, that blurb seems to have been written by an estate agent with an education and a very large thesaurus. The use of academia-speak ("postprivate master-narrative") rather hints at this being an scholarly treatise, whereas the price (£60) suggests that the publishers don't know whether it is a serious text or a popular polemic.
Before parting with the said amount of cash, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this, Eleonora, once you have finished reading.

Chris Oldknow said...

Me too. The subtitle might be the synopsis and the rest of the book just padding, or there could be interesting insights here. Which is it?

The Forum D'Avignon Declaration of Digital Rights, Berners-Lee's Digital Magna Carta, WIN's Fair Digital Deals Declaration...right to be forgotten, safari group action litigation...not all in the same direction, and Iggy Pop's John Peel lecture interestingly mixes different directions, but all are reaching for a recasting of the protection of individual rights and freedoms in a networked environment.

This battle of ideas may well be decided as much by the attractiveness of narrative as any purely logical or ethical considerations, so the topic is timely.

Jonathan Wheeldon said...

Valid questions from Andy J and Chris Oldknow. These endorsements might help answer them.

‘For anyone on the front line of the on-going debates around copyright this hugely insightful book is an essential guide. It is at once a memoir showing how we got here, an atlas showing us where we are, and a lexicon telling us what our words and discourse really mean.’ - Richard Mollet, Chief Executive, the Publishers Association, and former Director of Public Affairs, the BPI

‘A superb book. This is one of the best analytical accounts by an insider of the cultural industries. Actually no: one of the best analytical accounts by ANYONE of the cultural industries.’ - David Hesmondhalgh, Professor of Media and Music Industries, Institute of Communication Studies, University of Leeds
‘In this important and beautifully written book, an industry insider brings experience and research to bear on understanding corporations in the age of digitization. Wheeldon’s understanding is itself cultural, and his lessons have wide application for how we manage and consume cultural products in future.’ - Martin Parker, Professor of Culture and Organization, Management School, University of Leicester