Now out – Medium Law – the book!

My book Medium Law (Routledge) has just been published. It’s available in hardback (from the publisher and from various bookshops) and for Kindle and as a Google Play ebook, and an extract/summary is available here.

Here’s the mission statement, more or less (taken from chapter one):

I will set out the case for continuing to acknowledge within regulation, and in some cases use as the basis for special regulation, the medium. This is not to say that every silo ought to be defended on equal terms. There are plenty of examples where the lines drawn for legal purposes make no sense, and may have never made sense in the first place. We will encounter Morris dancers and lap dancers, space invaders and streaming video, and surprisingly detailed consideration (by regulators) of everything from ringtone subscriptions to titles and credits in audiovisual works. But I will propose that the idea of converged, cross-platform, medium-neutral media regulation is unattainable in practice and potentially undesirable in substance.

What I’ve tried to do in the book is identify the role of the medium in media law. Chapter two is about the significance of the medium, historically and in the present day, including an extended discussion of Canadian media scholars Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan, and examples from outside of conventional media law. Two long chapters, following a similar structure, investigate the medium within the film and game sectors – both affected by digital technologies and by specific forms of regulation. Then, medium-specific chapters consider medium-specific (and broader) approaches to the law, in radio, video-on-demand, premium rate services, and finally ‘entertainment’ (e.g. theatre, live music, circuses, and the like). I do hope people enjoy reading it – it was a long time in the writing for various reasons, but the result is something that, I think, reflects the way I approach my work and the different sorts of literature and ideas that I try to engage with.

Here’s what some other people have to say about it:

The convergence of media law and Internet regulation has caused some to question the need for medium-specific laws: a claim firmly rebutted in this comprehensive review of medium-specific law basing itself on the insight of the ‘Toronto School’ scholars Innis and McLuhan. Mac Síthigh’s excellent monograph provides meticulous case studies in the vagaries of medium law, essential reading for all those interested in the construction of medium-specific regulatory regimes, their evolution and their continued relevance.

(Chris Marsden, Professor, Sussex Law School, University of Sussex, UK)

Medium Law provides a rich and detailed overview of the tensions that exist in some of the less-charted areas of UK media law – from the regulation of online radio and video games, to live relay of opera in the cinema, music apps, and video on demand. Mac Síthigh challenges us to reconsider the role of the medium, alongside the message, in framing our media regulation of the future.

(Rachael Craufurd-Smith, Reader in EC Law, Director of Learning and Teaching, University of Edinburgh, UK)

This timely and highly ambitious book confronts head-on the debate on the development of technology-neutral, future-proof legislation across media platforms. By providing a careful and in-depth analysis of the laws concerning radio, film, TV, games, on-demand services and other entertainment platforms, this insightful book explains why the medium will continue to play a pivotal role in media regulation. Highly recommended.

(Peter K. Yu, Professor of Law and Director, Center for Law and Intellectual Property, Texas A&M University School of Law, USA)

To illustrate his argument, an eclectic mix of areas are drawn upon and some innovative examples explored. This is the beauty of the book. The examples Mac Síthigh chooses are well thought through and apposite, and beautifully delivered. Some of the chapters utilise, in part, previous work that some readers may be aware of, particularly perhaps important earlier interventions relating to computer games and film, but here they are skilfully woven into this broader theoretical frame. These perhaps more traditional or recognisable areas of media law are supplemented by the examination of fields such as licensing law and further utilises forays into areas as diverse as planning and ecclesiastical law, allowing a truly unique and innovative take on media law.

(Guy Osborn and Steve Greenfield, editors of the series Law, Society, and Popular Culture, in which the book appears)

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