Each week we post a round-up of some of our most exciting national and international PUP book coverage. Reviews, interviews, events, articles — this is the spot for coverage of all things “PUP books” that took place in the last week. Enjoy!
The Social Life of Money
Mobile money and Bitcoin — questions about the nature of money have gained a new urgency in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Even as many people have less of it, there are more forms and systems of money. In The Social Life of Money, Nigel Dodd, one of today’s leading sociologists of money, reformulates the theory of the subject for a postcrisis world in which new kinds of money are proliferating.
What counts as legitimate action by central banks that issue currency and set policy? What underpins the right of nongovernmental actors to create new currencies? And how might new forms of money surpass or subvert government-sanctioned currencies? To answer such questions, The Social Life of Money takes a fresh and wide-ranging look at modern theories of money.
“Dodd presents a wide-ranging and sophisticated review and integration of the academic work related to alternative conceptions of modern money….[T]his is a richly rewarding book. Those of us accustomed to thinking of money as something we exchange for beer and pizza will never again have such a simple story.”
We’re putting our money where our mouth is — preview the introduction of The Social Life of Money and see how Dodd’s argument adds up.
The Copyright Wars
Today’s copyright wars can seem unprecedented. Sparked by the digital revolution that has made copyright—and its violation—a part of everyday life, fights over intellectual property have pitted creators, Hollywood, and governments against consumers, pirates, Silicon Valley, and open-access advocates.
But while the digital generation can be forgiven for thinking the dispute between, for example, the publishing industry and Google is completely new, the copyright wars in fact stretch back three centuries—and their history is essential to understanding today’s battles. The Copyright Wars—the first major trans-Atlantic history of copyright from its origins to today—tells this important story.
Peter Baldwin explains why the copyright wars have always been driven by a fundamental tension. Should copyright assure authors and rights holders lasting claims, much like conventional property rights, as in Continental Europe? Or should copyright be primarily concerned with giving consumers cheap and easy access to a shared culture, as in Britain and America? The Copyright Wars describes how the Continental approach triumphed, dramatically increasing the claims of rights holders.
An interview with Peter Baldwin ran in Publishers Weekly’s Frankfurt Show Daily issue (check out pages 34-36!).
Here is a sneak peak:
Andrew Richard Albanese: Why the title Copyright Wars? Has copyright historically been a war zone?
Peter Baldwin: There are two wars, partly overlapping. The historical war, which the book, as a work of history deals with, examines opposing visions of authors’ rights. Should copyright be seen as a temporary monopoly granted authors in order to stimulate them to further creativity? Or should copyright be seen as a form of property, much like more conventional property, that belongs to its owner wholly and perpetually.
That war was largely won by the mid-20th century when the US adopted the European position of strong authorial rights, and the British, as founding members of the Berne Convention, were pulled along by their international obligations in the same direction. But as digital technologies became widespread ad, the whole battle erupted anew. Digital has made it possible to reproduce and distribute almost for free. How were authors and owners going to assert claims to their works, now that they were no longer protected by the sheer physical inconvenience of the old analogue techniques of reproduction and distribution?
Be sure to take a look at the full interview!
The Copyright Wars was also reviewed on the Huffington Post by Glenn C. Altschuler. He writes:
“Baldwin has provided an often fascinating account of debates over intellectual property, including the defense of the moral rights of authors in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Most important, Baldwin makes a compelling case that although claims to intellectual property have strengthened over the last three hundred years, they do not rest in nature. Intellectual property is, in fact, ‘a contingent, socially created right, in thrall to what the lawmakers of the day’ decide it is.”