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Book Review

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This book is based upon the graceful and vigorous Carpentier Lectures given by Professor Kaplan at The Columbia Law School in 1966. The lectures were delivered during the accelerating momentum of the general copyright law revision, the chief subject of the third lecture. Late in 1966, after extended hearings, a final draft had been reported out of a House subcommittee. What is said to be a "substantially identical" bill was promptly introduced in the new Congress, favorably reported, and sent on to Senate hearings that commenced in March, 1967. To the extent that this review comments on Professor Kaplan's analysis of the revision effort, it may be overtaken by events. Never mind; when the apocalyptic vision of a total computerized communications network is realized perhaps the dead time between composition and dissemination will be reduced to microseconds. Meanwhile, one accepts a certain stately pace for academic publications, perhaps unchanged since "Caxton founded his press in Westminster in 1476" (p. 2).

That is the author's starting point, for it is only with the spread of printing that copyright begins to be of interest, or even to exist as a legal notion. In a sparkling review of the history, which includes some new information and interpretations, along with the major events, the first lecture brings us quickly to 1909, the date of the last effective overhaul of the American statute.

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