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Unfair to Genius: The Strange and Litigious Career of Ira B. Arnstein

Rosen, Gary

10 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0199733481 / ISBN 13: 9780199733484
Published by U.S.A.: Oxford University Press, 2012
New Condition: New Hardcover
From Mima Mia Books (Boston, MA, U.S.A.)

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1ST PRINTING,8402 Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng Language: eng. Bookseller Inventory # 3C-138-G

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Unfair to Genius: The Strange and Litigious ...

Publisher: U.S.A.: Oxford University Press

Publication Date: 2012

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

Dust Jacket Condition: New

Edition: 1st Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

The long and tortured career of Ira B. Arnstein, "the unrivaled king of copyright infringement plaintiffs," opens a curious window into the evolution of copyright law in the United States. As Gary A. Rosen shows in this frequently funny and always entertaining history, the litigious Arnstein was a trenchant observer and most improbable participant in the transformation of not just copyright, but of American popular music itself.
A musical prodigy in the late nineteenth century, Arnstein performed as a boy soprano at the famous 1893 "White City" exhibition in Chicago. He grew up to be a composer of moderate accomplishment, but by the mid-1920s his fortunes had reversed in the face of changing tastes and times. Embittered and confused, he became convinced that he was the victim of a conspiracy to steal his music and set out on a three-decade-long campaign to prove it, suing most of the major players in the popular music industry of his day.
Although Arnstein never won a case, Rosen shows that the decisions rendered ultimately defined some of the basic parameters of copyright law. His most consequential case, against a dumbfounded Cole Porter, established precedents that have provided the foundation for successful suits against George Harrison, Michael Bolton, and many others.
Unfair to Genius alternates the stories of Arnstein and a colorful cast of supporting characters with a fascinating account of the economic, technological, and legal forces of the first half of the twentieth century that shifted the balance of power from the mercenary music publishers of Tin Pan Alley to the composers and lyricists who wrote the Great American Songbook.

Review:


"This is an amazing intertwined tale of Tin Pan Alley, a series of courtroom showdowns, and the changing nature of commercial creativity through the 20th century. Rosen has done us all a great favor by unearthing the story and writing about it so well." --Siva Vaidhyanathan, author of TheGooglization of Everything


"Everyone interested in how the law and entertainment intersect should read this story of the original copyright troll." --Adrian Johns, author of Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates


"Unfair to Genius is a lively, learned, and illuminating look at American popular music, from the Tin Pan Alley era to the advent of rock 'n' roll, through the lens of one of its quirkiest denizens."--Philip Furia, author of The Poets of Tin Pan Alley and Ira Gershwin: The Art of the Lyricist


"Exhaustively researched, this multi-layered tale of the economic, cultural and legal forces that forever changed the institutions of American popular music is both immensely readable and thoroughly engaging. It is a gem of a book."-Paul Goldstein, Lillick Professor of Law, Stanford University


"Rosen paints a fascinating portrait of one of history's most fertile creative eras - the rise of Tin Pan Alley, or the "Age of the Songwriter," as Rosen calls it - and the book brims with history relevant to today's disruptive technology climate." -- Publishers Weekly


"This is an amazing intertwined tale of Tin Pan Alley, a series of courtroom showdowns, and the changing nature of commercial creativity through the 20th century. Rosen has done us all a great favor by unearthing the story and writing about it so well." --Siva Vaidhyanathan, author of The Googlization of Everything


"Unfair to Genius is a lively, learned, and illuminating look at American popular music, from the Tin Pan Alley era to the advent of rock 'n' roll, through the lens of one of its quirkiest denizens."--Philip Furia, author of The Poets of Tin Pan Alley and Ira Gershwin: The Art of the Lyricist


"Exhaustively researched, this multi-layered tale of the economic, cultural and legal forces that forever changed the institutions of American popular music is both immensely readable and thoroughly engaging. It is a gem of a book."-Paul Goldstein, Lillick Professor of Law, Stanford University


"Everyone interested in how the law and entertainment intersect should read this story of the original copyright troll." --Adrian Johns, author of Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates


"Entertaining and instructive...the improbable leap from high opera to low vaudeville suggests the fun to be found in "Unfair to Genius" as it leavens legal history with showbiz anecdote, and insight with amusement." -Wall Street Journal


"Unfair to Genius is a superbly researched and written account of the Tin Pan Alley era of pop music and the peculiar career of one Ira Arnstein, who started with tons of talent and ambition but ended up as a reviled eccentric who pathologically sued big-name songwriters for imagined copyright infringement. Author Gary Rosen, an intellectual-property lawyer, deftly plots the rise of the music industry in America, keying in on such famous-long-ago figures as cantor Yossele Rosenblatt, "the Jewish Caruso," who became a mainstream star without particularly trying to." -Forbes


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