Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates

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University of Chicago Press, Jan 15, 2010 - Law - 640 pages

Since the rise of Napster and other file-sharing services in its wake, most of us have assumed that intellectual piracy is a product of the digital age and that it threatens creative expression as never before. The Motion Picture Association of America, for instance, claimed that in 2005 the film industry lost $2.3 billion in revenue to piracy online. But here Adrian Johns shows that piracy has a much longer and more vital history than we have realized—one that has been largely forgotten and is little understood.

Piracy explores the intellectual property wars from the advent of print culture in the fifteenth century to the reign of the Internet in the twenty-first. Brimming with broader implications for today’s debates over open access, fair use, free culture, and the like, Johns’s book ultimately argues that piracy has always stood at the center of our attempts to reconcile creativity and commerce—and that piracy has been an engine of social, technological, and intellectual innovations as often as it has been their adversary. From Cervantes to Sonny Bono, from Maria Callas to Microsoft, from Grub Street to Google, no chapter in the story of piracy evades Johns’s graceful analysis in what will be the definitive history of the subject for years to come.


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User Review  - SESchend - LibraryThing

I'll admit I'm only 30 pages into this book and on the verge of giving up on it. I have no doubt it has great information in it, but its academic voice slows it down too much, often using ten words where five would do (in my opinion). Read full review

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<The big idea change world nwslttrs KSE Jesus is Lord>


1 A General History of the Pirates
2 The Invention of Piracy
3 The Piratical Enlightenment
4 Experimenting with Print
5 Pharmaceutical Piracy and the Origins of Medical Patenting
6 Of Epics and Orreries
7 The Land without Property
8 Making a Nation
12 The First Pirate Hunters
13 The Great Oscillation War
14 Intellectual Property and the Nature of Science
15 The Pirate at Home and at Large
16 From Phreaking to Fudding
17 Past Present and Future

9 The Printing Counterrevolution
10 Inventors Schemers and Men of Science
11 International Copyright and the Science of Civilization

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About the author (2010)

Adrian Johns is professor of history and chair of the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science at the University of Chicago. He is the author of The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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