Media, Technology, and Copyright: Integrating Law and Economics, by Michael A. Einhorn. Northampton, Mass: Edward Elgar. 2004. Cloth: ISBN 1843766574, $35.00. 209 pages.
The rise of the information economy brings with it a slew of interesting questions related to property rights. The ease with which digital information can be copied and widely distributed without the creator's permission raises questions about the rationale, scope, and enforceability of property rights as they relate to intellectual property. Michael Einhorn's book is a collection of seven essays, each addressing a different, and interesting, issue related to the interplay of media, technology, and copyright.
In a brief introductory chapter, Einhorn offers some history and background information on economics and copyright, economics and law, and recent technological advances before outlining the rest of the book. The remaining seven chapters are a collection of the author's essays prepared for lectures and law review articles. Accordingly, each of chapters could stand alone.
Chapter 2 addresses the judicial principle of fair use as applied to the unauthorized use of copyrighted material. Einhorn argues that under Title 17, [section] 107 of the U.S. Code, the "four activating principles of fair use" are "ambiguous and subjective" (p. 12). The resulting uncertainty is an inefficient hindrance to the creation of new works such as parodies, criticisms, and research about the original work. Einhorn suggests modifying Title 17 to precisely define such transformative works which add "sufficient new meaning to copyrighted material" (p. 13). He further suggests that the creators of transformative works give up their fair use claims to original copyrighted material and submit to arbitration to set reasonable fees for the use of this material.
Chapter 3 looks at the issue of digital rights management (DRM). Digital rights management relies on technology, rather than copyright law, to monitor, regulate, and charge for the use of intellectual property. For example, a user may have to pay to acquire a password-protected account before receiving access to a journal, or one might download software or music that he or she can enjoy free for a week but then must pay for continued access. Einhorn argues that DRM protects property rights and accommodates experimental and innovative ways for delivering digital content to consumers. He further argues in favor of laws condemning technologies which circumvent...