Monday 27 July 2009

Peer-to-Peer: a new book

Cometh the hour, cometh the book. Peer-to-Peer File Sharing and Secondary Liability in Copyright Law, edited by the distinguished academic and practitioner Alain Strowel, is a title that has "flavour of the month" stamped all over it, as it is launched for the benefit of a readership currently struggling to make sense of the Pirate Bay drama, the debate over "three stripes and you're out" and the martyrdom of Jammie Thomas-Rasset.

This book is one of those curious little beasts that is very much a product of its time. Five years ago it would have been unimaginable; in five years time it will probably be history. But right now it provides a valuable, readable and sometimes provocative set of insights into the issues that now drive copyright pundits to distraction and copyright-based businesses to possible extinction.

One of the most striking things about the contributions in general is that their authors have resisted the temptation to navigate by crystal ball and have based so much of their analysis on existing (if largely recent and sometimes unfamiliar) case law. Another striking thing is the geographical focus of the debate: the fact that peer-to-peer issues were identified and discussed so swiftly in the United States, as well as the easy availability of American case law, information and scholarship, sometimes leads the reader to wonder whether this is really an American debate to which the rest of the world is kindly invited to respond. If this is so, we Europeans have only ourselves to blame and it is for us to play catch-up.

The contents of the book are as follows:
1. Liability of Users and Third Parties for Copyright Infringements on the Internet: Overview of International Developments: Allen N. Dixon

2. Legal Issues in Peer-To-Peer Filesharing, Focusing on the Making Available Right: Michael Schlesinger

3. Secondary Liability for Copyright Infringement with Regard to Hyperlinks: Alain Strowel and Vicky Hanley

4. Copyright Control vs. Compensation: The Prospects for Exclusive Rights after Grokster and Kazaa: Jane C. Ginsburg

5. Global Networks and Domestic Laws: Some Private International Law Issues Arising from Australian and US Liability Theories: Graeme W. Austin

6. A Bipolar Copyright System for the Digital Network Environment: Alexander Peukert
7. Sharing Out Online Liability: Sharing Files, Sharing Risks and Targeting ISPs: Bob Clark

8. A Reverse Notice and Takedown Regime to Enable Public Interest Uses of Technically Protected Copyrighted Works: Jerome H. Reichman, Graeme B. Dinwoodie and Pamela Samuelson
The 1709 Blog hopes this book does well, and looks forward to what will undoubtedly be its many sequels as the world of peer-to-peer continues to evolve.

Bibliographic details
. Publication date 2009. xviii + 322 pp. Hardback, ISBN 978 1 84720 562 9. Full price £ 79.95 (with publisher's online discount £ 71.96). Web page here.

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