Our first reader review is up. We shouldn’t be this excited. But it’s really really really great when somebody likes your book — and says so!
Thanks, Malvin. Whoever you are . . .
“The Knockoff Economy” by Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman presents an original, interdisciplinary study of the relationship between innovation and imitation. The author’s brilliant deconstruction of various creative industries succeeds in challenging our preconceived notions about the role of intellectual property (IP) rights in today’s increasingly “low-IP” economy. Thoroughly researched and accessibly written, this outstanding book is certain to be widely read and discussed.
The author’s core argument is that creativity can do more than survive in a knockoff environment; it can thrive. The authors discuss three low-IP industries to shed light on the subject. We learn that in the fashion world, the skills of top designers become even more in-demand as knockoffs accelerate the cycle of innovation. The authors explain how the culinary arts embraces an informal system of professional courtesy and attribution which serves to enhance the prestige of the industry’s most creative top chefs. And in the stand-up comedy world, we see how the industry can quickly close ranks on renegade comedians who dare to steal original materials from others.
At first glance, these case studies might seem to be purely situational. However, the authors show us how the key concepts gleaned from these studies can be applied to virtually any other industry. Among the many insights gained along the way, it becomes evident to us that a multi-layered strategy might be the most effective way to keep creativity and imitation in a harmonious relationship; as opposed to the single brute-force instrument of the lawsuit (which in the case of music file sharing, ultimately proved to be ineffective).
In the Epilogue, the authors engage in an intriguing thought experiment: the lessons learned are powerfully applied to the music industry. The authors believe that music can prosper as a low-IP industry by fundamentally redefining its relationship with fans. It is suggested that this can be achieved in part through increasing consumer choice; which in turn might be made possible by embracing new technologies. With more artists empowered to create and connect with the fans who most appreciate their work, the authors envision a bright future for the industry.
I highly recommend this thoughtful, timely and influential book to everyone.