A detailed, if somewhat idealistic, exploration of art, culture and copyright in the marketplace.




A musing on the philosophy of copyright and the nature of culture, presented mainly as a dialogue among students.

In this philosophical book, the author’s debut, a fictional dialogue blends with essay-style authorial comment to develop the theory of so-called Authoright, a copyright alternative that requires full attribution of a work’s original creator but allows for unlimited reproduction and derivative works. The author acknowledges the book’s ambiguous genre in his introduction: “[I]t is neither a strictly scientific investigation nor a purely fictional, political or autobiographical work.” The dialogue is a conversation between a teacher and five first-grade students, identified as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Kappa and Delta, who argue about the creative process, the relationship between culture and civilization, appropriate forms of compensation and the nature of art. Periodically, the text returns to standard prose format for a longer essay or a summary on the same topics, written in the author’s voice. Volynets evaluates three different systems for recognizing and compensating cultural productions, concluding that copyright is a destructive monopoly, whereas Authoright is the most effective way of compensating authors while removing limits on creativity—a conclusion reinforced by the fact that the book displays an Authoright, not a copyright, in its frontmatter. Volynets’ book requires readers to be open to thought experiments and theoretical discussions, though these are, for the most part, easy to follow. However, readers may wonder why a dialogue among first-graders is full of comments such as “There are riveting and telling pictures out there, and there are many that are good for the trash can only. How is this possible?” Readers accustomed to the current publishing industry are unlikely to agree with Volynets’ expectation that authors will somehow increase their earnings by selling to multiple publishers under the Authoright system. Likewise, they might not consider the current setup to be a “toxic copyright-driven environment.” Nevertheless, Volynets presents an engaging discussion of a timely topic.

A detailed, if somewhat idealistic, exploration of art, culture and copyright in the marketplace.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9889557-0-7

Page Count: -

Publisher: Total Knowledge

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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