Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership (Google eBook)

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Macmillan, Aug 17, 2010 - History - 320 pages
13 Reviews

Common as Air offers a stirring defense of our cultural commons, that vast store of art and ideas we have inherited from the past that continues to enrich our present. Suspicious of the current idea that all creative work is “intellectual property,” Lewis Hyde turns to America’s founding fathers—men like John Adams, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson—in search of other ways to value the fruits of human wit and imagination. What he discovers is a rich tradition in which knowledge was assumed to be a commonwealth, not a private preserve.

 

For the founding fathers, democratic self-governance itself demanded open and easy access to ideas. So did the growth of creative communities, such as that of eighteenth-century science. And so did the flourishing of public persons, the very actors whose “civic virtue” brought the nation into being.

 

In this lively, carefully argued, and well-documented book, Hyde brings the past to bear on present matters, shedding fresh light on everything from the Human Genome Project to Bob Dylan’s musical roots. Common as Air allows us to stand on the shoulders of America’s revolutionary giants and to see beyond today’s narrow debates over cultural ownership. What it reveals is nothing less than an inspiring vision of how to reclaim the commonwealth of art and ideas that we were meant to inherit.


  

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Review: Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership

User Review  - Carol Weaver - Goodreads

Really enjoyed it and will be starting a discussion with colleagues - it provides a really good starting point for reflection on the open access debate. Read full review

Review: Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership

User Review  - Sam - Goodreads

Exposes the BS behind "intellectual property" and how the copyrighting of ideas has gotten out of hand while becoming impossible to control. Read full review

Contents

1 DEFENDING THE CULTURAL COMMONS
3
2 WHAT IS A COMMONS?
23
3 THE ENCLOSURE OF CULTURE
45
4 FRAMING A COMMONWEALTH
78
5 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN FOUNDING PIRATE
112
6 LIBERTY TO COMMUNICATE
135
7 THE COMMON SELF
162
8 THE COMMON SELF NOW
187
9 ENDURING COMMONS
214
NOTES
253
BIBLIOGRAPHY
283
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
293
INDEX
295
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Lewis Hyde is the author of The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property, This Error Is the Sign of Love, and Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art (FSG, 1998). A MacArthur Fellow and former director of undergraduate creative writing at Harvard University, Hyde teaches during the fall semesters at Kenyon College, where he is the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing. During the rest of the year he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he is a faculty associate at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Bibliographic information