Sunday 24 October 2010

Book review: more arrows than Agincourt

A handsome new fourth edition of Intellectual Property and Media Law Companion, authored by Alasdair Bleakley (Addleshaw Goddard LLP), Edward Baden-Powell (Michael Simkins LLP) and Jeffrey Eneberi (Just-Eat), was published earlier this year. As the publishers state, this is the only title in the UK market that combines intellectual property and media law in a single book. While this is true, it may be fairer to categorise it as first and foremost a media law text, but with a useful quantity of some of the main and/or more media-relevant bits of IP to provide some helpful reinforcement.  According to the web-blurb:
"Lawyers, media and technology professionals, and students of the law, alike, will benefit from the clear layout and style of this book – making it a ‘must have’ for your bookshelf. This book should be your first point of reference when advising your clients or colleagues, or for enabling you to excel in your particular field of media or technology.
With case and legislation citations included throughout, this is a user-friendly starting-point for researching primary sources".
This book's strength does not lie in its extent of coverage of the law, which in around 550 pages including lists and the index was always going to be selective.  It lies in the book's sheer accessibility and confident guidance to the reader.  If you've got a library shelf full of authoritative texts spanning the entirety of IP and media law, this is not the book that will provide that penetrating insight on which you base your arguments to the Supreme Court.  It is however a very handy device for any lawyer who is working under the time pressure imposed on him by any commercial client who lives with deadlines and who, when he asks his lawyer a question, expects the answer by return (and at not much less speed than Roger Federer might be expected to return a serve).   With excellent diagrams and lists, more arrows than Agincourt and more bullets than the British Army will be able to muster after the spending cuts, this book rushes along at a breathless pace which suggests that it might be a good idea to get into training before reading it.

The best bits of this book are the chapters at the end, which are problem-based or industry-specific.  Content clearance, marketing, the music industry, TV and film --these give the authors a chance to demonstrate not only what the law is (and frankly there's not a lot of law on things like clearance of rights) but on what the problems are and how to tackle them head-on.  These are the zones in which Experience is King and the Law is a mere handmaiden. This reviewer bets that the bits at the back are the bits that get the heaviest usage too.

Bibliographical data: publisher, Bloomsbury Professional. ISBN 978 1 84766 042 8. Paperback, xxxvi + 521 pages. £35. Book's web page here.

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