There was once a law firm called Hammonds, but now we have learned to call it Squire Sanders Hammonds: that's the name on the cover of E-Commerce and Convergence: A Guide to the Law of Digital Media, the 4th edition of which has recently been published by Bloomsbury Professional under the general editorship of Mike Butler, who heads the firm's media team. As a former in-houser at what used to be Sun Microsystems (now Oracle), he must know a few things about the topic — particularly the convergence bits of it which, while often exhilarating for consumers and exciting for salesmen, can be a real pain for others. Just imagine how you'd feel, as a car manufacturer, if a maker of fridges came up with a new model that cruised at a comfortably 120 kph on the local Autobahn. That's the sort of thing makers of phones, cameras, computers, printers, scanners, televisions and more besides have had to worry about. Anyway, this is what the publisher has to say about it: E-commerce and Convergence: A Guide to the Law of Digital Media recognises that electronic convergence – the coming together of the internet, broadcasting and content – has at last arrived [it would be difficult not to …]. This book is the first text of its kind to bring together the disparate laws relating to digital content and online commercial activity [not quite. There is, for example, this Kat's E-Commerce and IT Law Handbook, here — but Mike Butler's book is the first to seek to explain them in some sort of meaningfully converging context]. It explains the laws relating to issues as diverse as user generated content, video-on-demand, cookies and paid for searching. The book is a practical guide aimed at both commercial executives and in-house counsel. It highlights issues not always immediately familiar to those who work with digital content including in particular laws relating to data. However, it is also a useful guide for any business starting or growing its on-line presence, especially with chapters relating to on-line contracting and branding. With thick paper. plenty of charts and things, plus a useful glossary, you can actually get through this book much more quickly than the subject matter suggests. The text-in-boxes bits are sometimes too long to be elegant, since boxes in this Kat's opinion should never be allowed to stray over a page-turn. However the team, which includes the ever-insightful Chris McLeod, has done an admirable job. Well done! Bibliographic data: hardback, xxxiv + 240 pages. ISBN 978-1-84592-452-2. Rupture factor: low. Price £125, even if you buy it directly from the publisher here. The IPKat kept putting off the review of this book because it looked, frankly, a bit too earnest and serious and he always had other books to read which had more enjoyable-sounding titles. Let's face it, if you're faced with Innovation, Competition And Consumer Welfare In Intellectual Property Law, you know it isn't going to be a light read. There is however a well-known maxim about not judging a book by its cover; the same should be recognised with regard to not judging a book by its title, since this work, by the eminent Italian academic Gustavo Ghidini (Professor of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, University of Milan, among other things), is neither difficult nor dull. It is not however expected that the next edition will be called Harry Potter and the Consumer Welfairies. Now what does the publisher, Edward Elgar Publishing, have to say about this work? "This authoritative book provides a comprehensive critical overview of the basic IP paradigms, such as patents, trademarks and copyrights. Their intersection with competition law and their impacts on the exercise of social welfare are analysed from an evolutionary perspective. The analyses and proposals presented encompass the features and rationales of a legal field in constant evolution, and relate them to increasingly rapid technological, economic, social and geo-political developments. Gustavo Ghidini highlights the emerging trends that challenge the traditional 'all-exclusionary' vision of IP law and its application. The author expertly combines holistic, evolutionary and constitutionally oriented approaches, with the search for a rebalancing of the IP rights holders' positions with citizens' and users' rights. This book will appeal to academics, scholars and lawyers specializing in the realm of intellectual property, competition and comparative law". While there is some commonality of subject matter and perhaps even of purpose between this book and that of William Kingston (reviewed here), both the style and the substance of their critical appraisals of IP differ in many respects. If you go for the one, be sure to read the other. Bibliographic data: hardback, xix + 279 pages. ISBN 978-1-84720-970-2. Rupture factor: low. Price £75, but you can get it for only £67.50 from the publisher's website here.
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