The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind

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Yale University Press, Jan 1, 2008 - Law - 315 pages

In this enlightening book James Boyle describes what he calls the range wars of the information age—today’s heated battles over intellectual property. Boyle argues that just as every informed citizen needs to know at least something about the environment or civil rights, every citizen should also understand intellectual property law. Why? Because intellectual property rights mark out the ground rules of the information society, and today’s policies are unbalanced, unsupported by evidence, and often detrimental to cultural access, free speech, digital creativity, and scientific innovation.

Boyle identifies as a major problem the widespread failure to understand the importance of the public domain—the realm of material that everyone is free to use and share without permission or fee. The public domain is as vital to innovation and culture as the realm of material protected by intellectual property rights, he asserts, and he calls for a movement akin to the environmental movement to preserve it. With a clear analysis of issues ranging from Jefferson’s philosophy of innovation to musical sampling, synthetic biology and Internet file sharing, this timely book brings a positive new perspective to important cultural and legal debates. If we continue to enclose the “commons of the mind,” Boyle argues, we will all be the poorer.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - RicDay - LibraryThing

An outstanding book which takes a hard look at the mistakes we have made in copyright and patent law in the past century and explains the negative impact this has on access to knowledge now and in the future. Highly recommended for anyone interested in this subject. Read full review

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Yeah now concerning about everyone will be poorers , but who ever concerns about myself been poor. When i shouldered has a piece of pie since beginning. That’s just one example of how corruption is , selflessness, ungrateful, so is better to be a theft to share with others that at the end will become thefts part of the group , who has ever care about the owner of the key, 20 years of misery without counting all the miserable crimes against myself. Laws should be respected by everyone, but not just because you or someone else works for the laws should be breaking the laws. After your shift, you are normal person like the rest , you are not the law 24 / 7 . Education or not we are same humans. There is not difference. . By been educated and have a decent job , why be a theft, if you have your good carrier . Should the law has to it the example. Then follow laws rules , but not because you work for it , should I have to see you like a something special. I respect you and everybody else . But if I feel that my freedom rights been violated and abused, when laws have the power to do something and is not done , why should I care about the law . That does not mean I’m going to break it like is been with me . Is either together like business say , but excluding one for 20 years and still abusing and committing crimes against the person, that is wrong. . That’s why we have crimes all over , and laws can’t control that . Because they do not show the respect, they just think because they work for laws , they have the power to abused or overpowered people . I have never seen a officer that teach or show good manners or show real respect. In order to gain respect, you have to show respect. At the end I careless about everyone, I’m just defending my rights, because laws know whats going on and they are part of the game , can’t help or do nothing because they do not feel like it , better for them if im out of the way.  

About the author (2008)

James Boyle is William Neal Reynolds Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law. He lives in Chapel Hill, NC.

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