Paul J. Heald


On his book Copy This Book! What Data Tells Us about Copyright and the Public Good

Cover Interview of December 02, 2020


The consumer protection movement has energized the public to reconsider many of the products and services it encounters in the market. Clearly, we have become more discerning consumers of things like food, automobiles, and banking services. And we also have come to care about the laws that regulate our consumption.

Although consumer oversight of Congress and regulatory agencies is increasing in many areas, copyright law remains a hidden determiner of our cultural future.

Copy This Book! explains why we should care as much about the length of the copyright term as we care about the accuracy of organic labeling or the phraseology of consumer lending contracts.

Armed with dozens of studies, consumer advocates now have an arsenal with which to counter the ever-increasing demand of copyright owners for broader rights.

In other fields of law, large firms sometimes serve as surrogates for the public interest. For example, when big Pharma pushes for broader patent rights, Silicon Valley often pushes back, forcing Congress to consider what might be best for the public as a whole.

When it comes to copyright law, however, large publishers, plus the movie and music industries, have faced little or no pushback against their successful attempts to distort the law to their private benefit. Few pay attention to copyright “reform,” and the effect on the market for cultural goods is obscured.

Copy This Book! is not only a call to arms, but a provider of weaponry.