Krista recommended Bound By Law: Tales from the Public Domain as a good intro to the copyright conundrum--in comic book form.
Published by Duke School, it is available in free digital versions here, or you can buy a hard copy for $5.95. Mine just arrived.
From the back cover:
"A documentary is being filmed. A cell phone rings, playing the "Rocky" theme song. The filmmaker is told she must pay $10,000 to clear the rights to the song. Can this be true? Eyes on the Prize, the great civil rights documentary, was pulled from circulation because the filmmaker's rights to music and footage had expired.
What's going on here?
Why do we have copyrights? What's "fair use"? Bound By Law ...provides[s] a commentary on the most pressing issues facing law, art, property and an increasingly digital world of remixed cultures."
From the Introduction
--by Cory Doctorow, award-winning science fiction author
and co-editor of the blog Boing Boing
"Copyright, a system that is meant to promote creativity, has been hijacked by a few industrial players and perverted. Today, copyright is as likely to suppress new creativity as it is to protect it."