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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  • Unfair to Genius

    Unfair to Genius is an enlightening and entertaining romp through 60 tumultuous years of legal, artistic, and economic change in the American popular music industry, as seen through the lens of one of its most prolific copyright litigants and legendary outsiders, Ira B. Arnstein. "I suppose we have to take the bad with the good in our system which gives everyone their day in court," Irving Berlin once said, but "Arnstein is stretching his day into a lifetime."

    "Rosen paints a fascinating portrait of one of history's most fertile creative eras--the rise of Tin Pan Alley, or the 'Age of the Songwriter' as Rosen calls it--and the book brims with history relevant to today's disruptive technology climate."

    -Publishers Weekly

    "There's fun to be found in 'Unfair to Genius' as it leavens legal history with showbiz anecdote, and insight with amusement."

    -The Wall Street Journal

    “Superbly researched and written . . . Rosen deftly plots the rise of the music industry in America."


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  • Gary A. Rosen

    Gary A. Rosen, a lawyer, has litigated copyright, patent, and other intellectual property cases for more than 25 years, and is a Lecturer in Legal Studies at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. Before entering private practice, he served as a law clerk to federal appellate judge and award-winning legal historian A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. He holds a degree in physics from Haverford College and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School. He and his wife Lisa, a physician, and their two children live outside Philadelphia.
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