Will Slauter’s Who Owns the News? (2019) is subtitled A History of Copyright, but it could just as easily have been subtitled A History of Journalism. Slauter’s thoughtful and detailed story of the battle among newspaper publishers to secure legal and other protection for their work product is inseparable from questions about what it means for something to be “news” in the first place—and, indeed, whether “journalism” is something different from “news.” Developments subsequent to Slauter’s history—the emergence of the journalist as a literary figure, the heightened need to see news publishing as an economic (and profitable) enterprise, and the expectations of the audience as to what requires payment and what should be freely available and shareable—both reinforce and extend his narrative.

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Book Review

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Publication Information

6 Critical Analysis of Law 229-239 (2019)


Reviewing Will Slauter's Who Owns the News: A History of Copyright (2019).