Copy This Book!
What Data Tells Us about Copyright and the Public Good
Paul J. Heald


Contents and Abstracts
Introduction: Disappearing Books and Dead Rats at the Trans-Pacific Partnership
chapter abstract

The problem of excessive copyright term length is made vivid in a graph depicting a random sample of new editions of books on Why are there more new books from the 1880s than the 1990s? The mystery of the disappearing books from the twentieth century is solved, and US attempts to dupe its trading partners exposed.

1 Photographic Orphans and Frustrated Adoptions
chapter abstract

The shocking status of orphan works is narrated through the story of the iconic photo of workers lunching on a girder high above New York City in 1932. Almost all photographs taken from 1923 to 1964 are orphaned and in the public domain. Of course, this doesn't stop Getty Images from making millions licensing them.

2 Blurred Lines and Bummed Musicians
chapter abstract

A human subjects experiment and the recent decision in the "Blurred Lines" case reveal the problem with music copyright infringement—lack of deference to musicians and to long-established musical practices. Allowing musicians to take back their profession might be as easy as inserting a viral contract provision in common licenses.

3 Kurt Vonnegut, The Lion King, and How Authors Get Their Groove Back
chapter abstract

Very few people know that US authors and composers have the absolute right to get their copyrights back in year 35 after publication. This chapter presents the first study of how authors use this right to the public's benefit. Disney's loss in South Africa to the heirs of the author of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" illustrates the power of reversion rights.

4 Revenge of the Porn Parody
chapter abstract

Copyright owners claim they need eternal copyright protection to prevent the destruction of their works by irresponsible users. A unique human subjects experiment shows that exposure to porn versions of a work actually enhances its value.

5 YouTube: More Parody and Millions of Silent Bargains
chapter abstract

A comprehensive study of unauthorized uploads of versions of number-one US, French, and Brazilian songs shows how YouTube has become a platform that maximizes value to both rights holders and users. Famous songs are used to illustrate the way uploaders and rights holders communicate effectively without ever speaking.

6 Bach's Copyright or Copyfraud?
chapter abstract

A copyright symbol on the Declaration of Independence? On a 300-year-old Bach cantata? This chapter provides plenty of examples of how fraudulent claimants get away with claiming copyright in public domain works. It includes a provocative how-to guide for suing on fraudulent claims.

7 A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Click-Throughs: How the Absence of Copyright Adds Value
chapter abstract

The UK government funded research on the value of public domain photos on Wikipedia, which required the reverse-engineering of the Google search algorithm. This research resulted in putting a dollar figure on the value added by the lack of copyright protection in photos of numerous famous authors and composers.

8 Four Stars and Rotten Tomatoes: When Piracy Hurts and When It Doesn't
chapter abstract

Joel Waldvogel and Glynn Lunney's work measuring the damage from illegal downloading of copyrighted songs produced surprising results. They found no evidence of a negative effect on the quantity or quality of songs being produced during periods of intense infringement. Waldvogel found a different story in India, however, where movie pirating did negatively affect the market for new works.

9 Gray Markets and the Enterprising Mr. Kirtsaeng
chapter abstract

Kirtsaeng made thousands of dollars importing low-cost Wiley & Sons textbooks from Thailand to the US, where they cost much more. This chapter discusses when copyright owners should be able to stop legitimate copies of their works from crossing the US border. What's more important: allowing price discrimination by rights holders or encouraging the free flow of goods? Here, economic theory seems paralyzing.

10 Music in Movies
chapter abstract

Studying the relative appearance rates of public domain songs and copyrighted songs in movies reemphasizes the economic conclusion that the copyright term in the US is far too long.

11 The Tale of the Church Choir Director, Eric Eldred, and RBG
chapter abstract

In 2002, the Supreme Court decided that the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act adding 20 years of protection to existing copyrights was constitutional. For the first time, the full story of the case can be told and the reasons for the incoherent opinion finally revealed.