Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity

Intellectual Property and Copyright and Trademark

Article Snapshot


Siva Vaidhyanathan


New York University Press, 2001


This book looks at the history of copyright law and creativity in the United States.

Policy Relevance

Copyright law needs to be flexible to protect culture and creativity.

Main Points




  • At the start of the twentieth century, copyright law tended to favor consumers over producers. Today the balance is tipping the other way.
  • Recording companies, photographers, and movie studios have sometimes tried to use copyright law to prevent others from using their work to create new work.
    • An example is Roy Orbison’s suit against Rapper Two Live Crew for the latter’s new version of the song “Oh Pretty Woman.”
  • The term “intellectual property” should be rejected because it is misleading to consider copyright to be a form of property or to equate the making of illegal copies with stealing.
  • Preserving the freedom to use information is more important than preventing piracy.

Get The Article

Find the full article online

Search for Full Article