Providing a vital economic incentive for much of society's music, art, and literature, copyright is widely considered "the engine of free expression"-but it is also used to stifle news reporting, political commentary, historical scholarship, and even artistic expression. In Copyright's Paradox, Neil Weinstock Netanel explores the tensions between copyright law and free speech, revealing the unacceptable burdens on expression that copyright can impose. Tracing the conflict across both traditional and digital media, Netanel examines the remix and copying culture at the heart of current controversies related to the Google Book Search litigation, YouTube and MySpace, hip-hop music, and digital sampling. The author juxtaposes the dramatic expansion of copyright holders' proprietary control against the individual's newly found ability to digitally cut, paste, edit, remix, and distribute sound recordings, movies, TV programs, graphics, and texts the world over. He tests whether, in light of these and other developments, copyright still serves as a vital engine of free expression and assesses how copyright does-and does not-burden free speech.
Taking First Amendment values as his lodestar, Netanel offers a crucial, timely call to redefine the limits of copyright so it can most effectively promote robust debate and expressive diversity-and he presents a definitive blueprint for how this can be accomplished.