- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press (January 26, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300158343
- ISBN-13: 978-0300158342
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind
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"In this delightful volume, Professor Boyle gives the reader a masterful tour of the intellectual property wars, the fight over who will control the information age, pointing the way toward the promise-and peril-of the future. A must read for both beginner and expert alike!"-Jimmy Wales, founder, Wikipedia
"Boyle is one of the world''s major thinkers on the centrality of the public domain to the production of knowledge and culture. He offers a comprehensive and biting critique of where our copyright and patent policy has gone, and prescriptions for how we can begin to rebalance our law and practice. It is the first book I would give to anyone who wants to understand the causes, consequences, and solutions in the debates over copyrights, patents, and the public domain of the past decade and a half."-Yochai Benkler, Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies, Harvard Law School
"Boyle has been the godfather of the Free Culture Movement since his extraordinary book, Shamans, Software, and Spleens set the framework for the field a decade ago. In this beautifully written and subtly argued book, Boyle has succeeded in resetting that framework, and beginning the work in the next stage of this field. The Public Domain is absolutely crucial to understanding where the debate has been, and where it will go. And Boyle''s work continues to be at the center of that debate."-Lawrence Lessig, C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith Professor of Law, Stanford Law School and author of Free Culture and The Future of Ideas -- Lawrence Lessig
"[T]his book is remarkable in many ways. . . I welcome this clarity and the sheer enthusiasm and humor of this simply delightful book."-Edward J. Valauskas, First Monday -- Edward J. Valauskas "First Monday" (01/05/2009)
About the Author
James Boyle is William Neal Reynolds Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law. He lives in Durham, NC.
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This book also provides everything you will ever need to know about intellectual property, with out going into unnecessary details. It covers philosophy of IP, the historical development (both in common-law world and in the continent), visions and warnings of Jefferson and Macaulay. It also captures the world before and after Sony-Betamax and encapsulates the mind-set of entertainment industry and their dislike of new business practices. I particularly like Boyle's discussion about why a pro-consumer decision like the Sony case is so important as a rare "counter-example" of technological threat argument and why Grockster and Napster failed to reach the same result: it's all about politics of the cartel dinosaurs; no one is really fighting for the consumer. It's simply logical and thus hard not to believe in what he wants to say.
Information here is just abundant. It will probably not be an easy read for non-copyright lawyers, but it is perfect for everyone who wants to think intelligently about the state of affairs regarding copyrights' implications on todays' culture. Read it as many times as you must!
It addresses the many misconceptions that most people have about "stealing" ideas, expanding rights, and fair use. It describes the problematic approach that many turn to of using analogies to the physical world when talking about ideas. It suggests a solution based on a concept of the "environment" that helped sustainability become mainstream. And it does this all with a balanced perspective. The author states repeatedly that he is not anti-intellectual property. It can be very useful and very important, when our founding fathers' cautions regarding its reach are heeded.
Although occasionally you may find spots that are a bit technical and difficult to fully understand, keep going. As someone with no professional background in law or intellectual property, most of this book is fairly simple and easy to understand.
This should be required reading at every public high school, or at the very least, every accredited university. Today's culture has such a biased view on intellectual property, and such a careless attitude towards our intellectual commons that we don't realize how badly things are headed. Individual situations catch our ire occasionally; bad software patents, or patents on DNA sequences, or patent trolls, but we fail to realize that these problems are systemic, and part of a much larger problem of mindshare and mindset.
I would implore everyone to read this book. Become educated on this portion of our constitution and its current state. The only way to combat our slide towards greater and greater government-granted monopoly rights is to educate the public, the lawmakers, lawyers, and yes, lobbyists, CEOs, and the men and women in our judicial system, especially judges and juries.
I only wish the author could update and re-release the book every couple of years, as things today are even worse than when the book was published.
Related media includes:
FREE: The Future of a Radical Price, by Chris Anderson talks about today's digital "free" market, how it is possible, and how it works. This overlaps greatly on the topic of the Public Domain.
Against Intellectual Property, by N. Stephan Kinsella gives a more negative view about the benefits of Intellectual Property and proposes that most or all IP rights should be either eliminated or severely culled.
Everything is a Remix, by Kirby Ferguson, is a video series outlining some of the very same issues and examples and arguments as this book.