Caleb Crain has written a thoughtful and detailed review of my book, Unfair to Genius, which appears in the current issue of The Nation. Almost too detailed, in fact, but I assure you there are still plenty of twists and surprises in store for the intrepid reader.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan’s “The Dish” blog has picked up on Crain’s review. So this is what it feels like to go a little viral.


Well, not exactly.  But I had a good time when Oxford University Press, publisher of my Unfair to Genius: The Strange and Litigious Career of Ira B. Arnstein, asked me to compile a Spotify playlist of songs which, at one time or another, Arnstein claimed were plagiarized from his music.  The result, 15 songs spanning the period from Irving Berlin’s “A Russian Lullaby” of 1927 to Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris” of 1952,  recorded by artists ranging Frank Sinatra, Artie Shaw, and the Andrews Sisters to Elivs Presley, Linda Ronstadt, and Diana Krall, can be found at the OUP Blog.  If you haven’t had a reason to download Spotify yet, here’s the perfect excuse.


I sometimes compare the protagonist of my book Unfair to Genius, Ira B. Arnstein, to Leopold Bloom of Joyce’s Ulysses.  A despised outsider, but an acute observer, he is an entertaining and illuminating vehicle for exploring matters that far transcend his quotidien comings and goings.  So I was delighted to have a chance to talk about him with Sean Moncrieff of Dublin-based News Talk Ireland this morning.  Part I of the interview is here, and Part II here.


This morning’s Wall Street Journal contains a generous and perceptive review of my book, Unfair to Genius, by Ken Emerson, the author of an excellent history of the early days of rock and roll, Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era.  To mark the occasion, I have temporarily suspended my personal ban on patronizing the Rupert Murdoch media empire.


A provocatively titled op-ed recently published by the New York Times, “Internet Pirates Will Always Win,” urges content providers to give up the legal fight against online copyright infringement as an exercise in futility, as new technologies make illegal downloading and streaming ever “harder to trace and to stop.”   The piece has prompted predictable responses from representatives of copyright industries, with arguments moral and economic.  May I add a little history, drawn from my book, Unfair to Genius, to the mix? (more…)


I had the great pleasure of being interviewed last night by Milt Rosenberg, WGN-Chicago, about my book, Unfair to Genius.  The audio file, in which we talk radio, music, and copyright law, is here.

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