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Copyright, Creativity, Big Media and Cultural Value is a wide-ranging work of immense erudition and archival research, combining several historical studies of the ‘incorporation’ of the author in different sectors of the ‘creative industries’. The book’s subtitle, ‘Incorporating the Author’, astutely encompasses multiple meanings, whose implications the book works through. These include the author as an initiating participant in a larger economic structure (Chapter 3 (print publishing)). But also, the author as a bit player enveloped by a larger economic structure (Chapter 5 (film industry)). And the author (or performer) as an autonomous object of economic value (Chapters 6 (recording artists and industry) and 7 (contemporary creators of literature, music and art)), as Bowrey explores the evolution from copyright to brand.

The book offers ‘a business history of copyright’ whose ‘aim is to critically examine [through review of contracts and business correspondence] the role of authorship and its connection to copyright in the emergence of concentrated corporate control’. It also presents a contentious critique of international copyright: far from realising the humanistic universality to which copyright’s natural rights advocates aspire, international copyright instead enabled Britain to ‘throttle’ independent publishing in the Empire’s domains, Bowrey claims. International copyright ‘remains imperial by design’, and, Bowrey urges, when authors work with publishers to achieve copyright law reform, they are ‘helping sustain ongoing imperial power imbalances into the 21st century’.


Intellectual Property Law | Law

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Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.


Copyright, Creativity, Big Media and Cultural Value: Incorporating the Author by Kathy Bowrey, Routledge, 2021, 228 pp, ISBN 9780367631154