International Copyright: Principles, Law, and Practice (Fourth Edition)
Paul Goldstein, P. Bernt Hugenholtz
This heavyweight academic work is a surprisingly easy read. Although it runs to 396 pages of type – ignoring copyright announcements, prefaces, contents pages, bibliography and index – most of the space saved since the third edition was comprised of various appendices which are available on the internet (such as the Berne Convention).
The format and content very closely follow that of the third edition, but the authors have not been idle and have mentioned changes in the law introduced shortly before publication. Given that the book begins its survey of the subject matter in 1476 and continues up to May 2019 (inclusive), it is hardly surprising that there is not a huge amount of new material.
The book’s weakness is also its strength. It compares approaches to copyright (primarily) across four major jurisdictions – France, Germany, the UK and the US – though other jurisdictions are frequently mentioned. Therefore, it is necessarily more closely focused on principles, rather than the law and practice.
However, this is not to deny the level of detailed discussion in specific cases of a jurisdiction’s approach. Case law is referenced in support of general theses, but usually by way of a one-sentence example. For the reader interested in a particular topic, the book will be a starting point in their research.
Given that the enforcement of copyright law is largely a matter for the jurisdiction in which the breach occurs, the practical uses of this book might be limited.
However, if you are acting as a lawyer who has to coordinate claims across multiple jurisdictions, or draft multi-jurisdictional licences, this book would be useful in providing an overview of the approaches in at least some of those jurisdictions.
This is a specialist work that is well worth reading if you have an interest in the subject; but it is of limited value to the professional specialising in international copyright.
Patrick Gilmour is head of corporate and commercial at DKLM, London