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In 1998, copyright lobbyists succeeded in persuading Congress to enact laws greatly expanding copyright owners’ control over individuals’ private uses of their works. The efforts to enforce these new rights have resulted in highly publicized legal battles between established media and new upstarts.
In this enlightening and well-argued book, law professor Jessica Litman questions whether copyright laws crafted by lawyers and their lobbyists really make sense for the vast majority of us. Should every interaction between ordinary consumers and copyright-protected works be restricted by law? Is it practical to enforce such laws, or expect consumers to obey them? What are the effects of such laws on the exchange of information in a free society?
Litman’s critique exposes the 1998 copyright law as an incoherent patchwork. She argues for reforms that reflect common sense and the way people actually behave in their daily digital interactions.
This paperback edition includes an afterword that comments on recent developments, such as the end of the Napster story, the rise of peer-to-peer file sharing, the escalation of a full-fledged copyright war, the filing of lawsuits against thousands of individuals, and the June 2005 Supreme Court decision in the Grokster case.