Freedom of Expression (R): Overzealous Copyright Bozos and Other Enemies of Creativity by Kembrew McLeod

FREEDOMI try to stay away from reviewing school books because most of them aren’t that entertaining. Freedom of Expression ® is an enlightening, amusing, and frightening look at how the growth of intellectual property law is making us all less free to say what we want. I blew through the reading in a matter of hours. Mclead presents a possibly ‘dull’ topic in the most entertaining why imaginable and I learned a lot.

Did ya know that the “Happy Birthday” song is still under copyright and won’t go into public domain until 2030? (I’m still not sure if I’m legally allowed to sing it at my next birthday party.) Or how the music industry said that Napster hurt it, when in reality music sales increased as a result of it. Or how Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches don’t make it into school books without a fat check to the family. And the fair use clause only really happens when you have the money to defend yourself against frivolous lawsuits.

I deal with copyright everyday at work and I really thought I had a good grasp on things. Freedom of Expression ® made me realize just how complicated and messed up our copyright system is. “Fair-Use” under our current copyright act is really only fair if you have the hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend your right. Yes, everyone should be compensate for their creative works but Prince’s, or the Artist Formally Know as Prince, demand for 100% of the royalties for even 2 seconds of his songs is ridiculous but legal. This book will defiantly make you think.

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