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Media & Press

Interviews and Presentations

Listen to co-author James Boyle discuss the comic on NPR’s The State of Things and Inquiry.

Watch authors Boyle and Jenkins discuss the comic at Duke Law's Faculty Authors Celebration.

Calling the comic "meticulously researched and incredibly entertaining," Jennie Halperin interviews the authors here.

Listen to Boyle and Jenkins discuss the comic on The Measure of Everyday Life.


[Y]ou’ve got no excuse not to start reading it today… [A] followup to the greatest law-comic ever published…. Theft traces millennia of musical history, from Plato’s injunction against mixing musical styles to the outrage provoked by the troubadours who appropriated sacred music and turned it into bawdy songs…(a trick Ray Charles repeated hundreds of years later!); from the racist outrage over rock and roll’s challenge to white supremacy to the fights over sampling…. It will make you a lot smarter about music, where it comes from, how we regulate it, and the tensions that are embodied in the copyright fight we’re having…. Theft is as laden with visual, textual and musical references as a Dizzy Gillespie solo, an early Public Enemy wall-of-sound, an illegal Girl Talk mashup.”

Cory Doctorow, Boing-Boing

[A]n engaging, transparent narrative… Captivating illustrations. The comic book, Theft!, is not so much concerned with the twenty-first-century sense of musical theft—piracy and illegal file-sharing—as it is with the way musicians have borrowed from, emulated, and sampled one another and how attempts at musical control, in history and modern times, are really attempts at social control. In the same way that Plato thought changes in musical modes could incite social revolution, George Wallace…worried that the cross-racial cultural exchange facilitated by rock music would revolutionize segregated Southern society…. The book depicts Boyle and Jenkins journeying through time and space, seeing how music has been inherited and restricted from the Greeks to Kanye West… Theft! also aims to push back against a legal-cultural trend of over-regulating musical adaptation and adoption. ‘Could we have jazz, soul music under contemporary musical culture? And I think the answer is no, and that ought to make us pause,’ says Boyle…‘I want to make sure that to the extent that people want to build on their prior culture, they can,’ he says.”

Noah Rawlings, Indy Week

[A] great book that should be in the collection of every library. It examines the certainty that music could not written without relying on music that was created before—the ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ idea…. [The book] is a labor of love as well as a primer on copyright overall. If you are teaching copyright to librarians or students, this might be the only required text that you assign.”

Carrie Russell, District Dispatch

An ode to the public domain…. ‘We want to drink your blues!’ scream the zombie copyright lawyers on the cover of ‘Theft: A History of Music.’ Musicians, don’t be alarmed! Our heroes are on the way to save the day… James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins, both Duke law professors, tell the story of the thin balance between creativity and control in the music industry. In a world where nothing is new under the sun and musicians stand on the shoulders of their predecessors, how do we make sure that artists get rewarded for their products without hampering future musical developments? … [S]ass and humor punctuate the book and create a jazzy atmosphere. However, it is the blend of different styles and themes that gives ‘Theft’ its unique identity. From the Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’ cover to an Igor-like narrator, from the beloved DeLorean to the Dr. Who’s Police Box, ‘Theft: A History of Music’ constantly cites and rearranges pieces of pop culture….”

Maria Carnovale, The Chronicle

Press and Other Inquiries

For press and other inquiries about the book, please email boyle AT law.duke.edu