Tuesday 6 May 2014

Digital Copyright Law: a new title

Digital Copyright: Law and Practice (Fourth Edition) has recently been published by Hart Publishing of Oxford and Portland, Oregon.  The author, Simon Stokes, is a partner in law firm Blake Lapthorn and a bit of a scholar too, being a Visiting Research Fellow in the Bournemouth Law School.  Simon has actually been quite a contributor to IP literature, being also the author of another Hart title, Art and Copyright (details here and noted by Art & Artifice here) and that rara avis, a book on the topic of the artist's entitlement to receive a proportion of the proceeds of resale of an original artwork -- Artist's Resale Right (Droit de Suite): UK Law and Practice (published by the Institute of Art & Law, here).

This is what the publisher has to say about Simon's latest effort:
The first edition of this book in 2002 was the first UK text to examine digital copyright together with related areas such as performers' rights, moral rights, database rights and competition law as a subject in its own right. Updated editions have included the UK implementation of the 2001 Information Society Directive and commentary on user-generated content and the development of Web 2.0 and beyond. Now in its fourth edition, the book has been updated and revised to take account of legal and policy developments in copyright law and related areas, in particular the increasing role of the Court of Justice of the European Union in shaping EU copyright law.

The book helps put digital copyright law and policy into perspective and provides practical guidance for those creating or exploiting digital content or technology, whether in academia, the software, information, publishing and creative industries, and other areas of the economy. The focus is on the specifics of the law in this area together with practical aspects, including precedents and precedent checklists dealing with common digital copyright transactions. The latest edition has been expanded to include a discussion of Open Access, eBooks and app development and licensing. Both academics and practitioners will find the book an invaluable guide to this rapidly developing field of law.
If ever there was a subject in which a book could be pretty well guaranteed to be out of date before it was published, digital copyright is that subject. Readers of this weblog will be only too aware of the surge of new case law in the past year or so, while this book is mainly current to the end of 2012 (with some updating to June 2013).  Curiously, in much the same way as technological developments gallop ahead of the law, legal developments tend to gallop ahead of practice -- and the most important parts of this book, those that alert the reader to problems and how to address them, are in the main still highly relevant. The author has also provided a good deal of patiently-worded text that does not assume too great a degree of knowledge on the part of the reader, both with regard to the technology and in relation to the law. Even if, as is inevitable, things just carry on changing, this small and manageable book is a very good place from which to commence one's pursuit of this topic.

Bibliographic details: hardback, xxvii + 262 pages. ISBN 9781849464024. Price: £45. Book's web page here.

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