It’s the final day of Research Week here in the Orangespace and I thought we’d end it with an announcement.
I’ve been a big fan of the word “copyfight” ever since I heard Cory Doctorow (I think it was him) use it. It gets at the heart of what copyright politics is about. It’s rooted in economics and culture. Copyfight conversations are difficult because they involve thinking about sacred Western norms like the individual creator and private property, while also raising hackles because of how copyright violates other Western norms, like free speech and free markets.
(The good folks at the Copyfight blog — no relation — have a nice post on what “copyfight” means to them.)
Fuelled by money, power and ideology, the copyfight is politics in its purest form, which is why I’ve always found it a bit odd that more political scientists don’t study it. (Young scholars: come on in! The water’s fine.)
All this is to announce my upcoming book, Copyfight: The global politics of digital-copyright reform, to be published soonish (maybe early 2014) by University of Toronto Press. In it, I try to bring into focus the forces that shape global copyright politics at all levels, from developing countries to the international stage to the heart of the U.S. establishment that currently drives global copyright policy. I do so by telling the story of how Canada, Mexico and the United States negotiated (along with other countries) and then implemented the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaties, which to this day largely define what we mean by digital-copyright reform.
Or, as I wrote in the blurb that I’ve supplied to my fine publisher:
Copyfight is the first complete account of the increasingly contentious global politics of copyright policymaking. It offers a clear look at whether individuals around the world can shape a law that will affect creativity, freedom of speech and economic innovation in the 21st century.
You know what’s fun? Trying to summarize a 100,000-word book in 44 words.
I’ll probably make more announcements about the book as we get closer to its publication, but if you think this is something you might be interested in purchasing (I’m told that it will be priced quite fairly), send your email address to bhaggart at brocku dot ca and I’ll create some type of mailing list to let you know when it will be coming out, how to order it and all that jazz.
A complex issue I don’t know much about. I have suspicions. One is that regardless of how copyright law develops, digital vendors may simply no longer allow programming or content off their servers. You won’t buy software like Word the traditional way, for example–you’ll subscribe to it for a monthly access fee and cybersecurity built into the product will do most of the work of preventing unauthorized use or copying. Entertainment content will also follow this model. Curiously, our computers now sporting 8GB RAM and 1TB hard drives will be back in the role of the “dumb terminal” of the 1970s–slave to an Internet server in some other state or country.