The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind

The Public Domain Enclosing the Commons of the Mind 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 n

  • Title: The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind
  • Author: James Boyle
  • ISBN: 9780300137408
  • Page: 383
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 righIn 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.

    One thought on “The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind”

    1. Two 1 hour live interviews about this book. Don'cha just love it when an author makes you smile as you are learning.1 - Why Intellectual Property2 - Thomas Jefferson Writes a Letter3 - The Second Enclosure Movement4 - The Internet Threat5 - The Farmers Tale: An Allegory6 - I got A Mashup7 - The Enclosure of Science and Technology8 - A Creative Commons9 - An Evidence: Free Zone10 -An Environmentalist for Information.The web was created for science and it works for porn, shoes, twits, farce and bo [...]

    2. This book contains one of the best and fairest overviews of the current debate (and a bit on the history) surrounding Intellectual Property Rights that I've seen so far.IPRs were created in the US to ensure that people would have sufficient incentives to release their private musings, writings or inventions into the public space, giving them a time-limited monopoly on the spread and sale of these works. The main goal, to stress the point, was to make sure that after this initial period, the addi [...]

    3. James Boyle retains a personable voice throughout the book if he sometimes dwells on some points longer than my layman's attention can focus on them. He introduces the reader not just to current intellectual property law but also to the more abstract notion of what it is we're trying to protect and what we're trying to remote through the use of copyrights and patents.One of the most interesting points that Boyle brings up is how, because of the low cost of copying in our society, the use of tech [...]

    4. In July of 2012, after taking a tour of the Capitol building in Washington, DC, I visited the Library of Congress across the street. The last time I was there was more than 20 years ago, and since I am now a school librarian, I was excited to see the largest library in the world. I was sorely disappointed. On my previous visit, one could walk through the ornate lobby directly into the main reading room. Now casual visitors may only climb a set of narrow stairs to a high balcony that overlooks th [...]

    5. A warning about the dangers of overly aggressive intellectual property policyIf the current regulatory mindset regarding intellectual property had existed when scientist Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web in 1989, the Internet might never have grown into the remarkable communication, entertainment and archival medium that it is today. Jazz and many other forms of music might never have come into being if governments were as strict decades ago about copyright law as they are now. Today, [...]

    6. I read this, as it was selected by people participating in freedombookclub as their Book of the Month for October 2012.I enjoy reading about intellectual property. I find the topic fascinating. But other books I have read clearly delineate that copyright/patents are either good or bad. Boyle's book makes a case that those protections are sometimes necessary. His argument was pretty convincing in some respects.Boyle's main concern is that copyrights and patents are being misused to block things f [...]

    7. Absolutely outstanding. Perhaps my favorite of recently read books in this genre, but that's probably as much due to the fact that I'm very clear on the arguments now (and in agreement), so I could just enjoy the content. (all of them are fantastic) Professor Boyle's examples and reasoning are brilliant and powerful, however. He clearly states his concerns with recent (20th century) attempts to enclose and limit the rights of fair use and the public domain, and he also provides potential solutio [...]

    8. Yes, I have read several on this topic, as it is a topic that I am passionate about. This book is a down-to-earth look at what intellectual property is (it is an artificial right created by governments, not a natural right as many of us believe), what it is for (to encourage innovation, not to discourage competition), and where it is headed (toward longer and stronger rights for IP owners and their descendants).It addresses the many misconceptions that most people have about "stealing" ideas, ex [...]

    9. The public domain is a strange and perplexing thing, under assault from forces that would corporatise and privatise as much of our intellectual, cultural and social life as possible, although a domain that is increasingly hard to identify and define, but a concept that shapes and weaves its way through (if both are possible) a very large amount of our contemporary politics. Debates about the public domain are central to many of our discussions about technology, scientific and cultural developmen [...]

    10. Has achieved the impossible: a readable book about intellectual property in the United States. Boyle argues that the environmental movement offers a useful model for bringing together disparate stakeholders in designing a better IP system. The first step is to make visible the public domain, the way the concept of "environment" was made visible and used to shape policy, rally support. This book represents an attempt at such a first step, to my understanding.

    11. This book gives a nuanced and thorough account of the issues surrounding intellectual property vs. the public domain. It does an excellent job of arguing for less restrictive intellectual property laws without demonizing strong intellectual property advocates. In fact, it does a very fine job of explaining the rationales of strong intellectual property law advocates. Boyle also does a very good job of showing what can be lost in terms of suppression of innovation when copyright and patent laws a [...]

    12. Accessible, top-shelf, clear-minded talk about intellectual property law from one of the leading lights of its liberalization. Most people reading that sentence will turn off. If you survived it, you should probably read the book, because it talks about problems that concern you personally: you, who write reviews on and post vacation photos on Flickr and otherwise become an author several times a day. The book is centrally about how the bloat of the copyright system, born of misguided legislati [...]

    13. Good historical background concerning the public domain, copyright law, and patents, and how they apply to books, movie, music, and the internet in the 21st century - including talking about legal cases involving sampling of music, youtube, the evolving definition of fair use, orphaned works (works still under copyright but without a known copyright holder), and more. The first chapter gives an overview concerning intellectual property and the second chapter is "Thomas Jefferson Writes a Letter, [...]

    14. Not necessarily the book that I would pick up to read for fun but it contained lots of useful and at times interesting information. I think that James Boyle does a great job in engaging the reader. I found the best way to read his book was not to read it from front to back but to just jump right in the center and bounce around from there. It might have been that I was reading it in an online version so my attention span was not the longest.He made some very good points on the public domain and w [...]

    15. So everyone should read this book that is ever thinking of making anything in any form that they may or may not want credit for (either in accolades or payment). It's a great book for understanding the complexities of the public domain and the ways in which ensuring there is indeed a public commons of works after a reasonable time has passed from its creation (that is, current copyright is ridiculous) ensures a rich and vibrant culture. Additionally, it is a book that practices what it preaches [...]

    16. An excellent book on the current state of IP law, including some history, policy overviews, and even some case studies. Very accessible and readable. The author even lets his sense of humor show through. Definitely not a dry legal text.I liked the emphasis on the public domain and why it needs to be protected. As the author admits, the enclosure analogy doesn't work perfectly, as intangible property is different from tangible property. But the author covers this point very well, and elaborates o [...]

    17. This is a brilliant presentation of the evolution and influences of our intellectual property right laws and patent systems as they developed in America. Its written so that its easy to follow, and shows the struggle between innovation and our capitalist model, where they converge, and where they are set against each other. While its especially relevant now, its the notions of how information is allowed to flow through our society is and always will be important. Its also free - the entire work [...]

    18. The author makes wonderful use of examples in this book to help bring clarity to the issues around intellectual property. Clarity is just what is needed for such a vague subject. The words intellectual property probably don't mean a lot to most people. This book can help people to understand intellectual property and the damaging effects of letting laws that protect it run rampant. It also does a good job of identifying some sensible guidelines to identify when those laws are needed. I would hop [...]

    19. Boyle takes a notoriously abstruse topic and makes it quite accessible to the average person. Copyright, and the converse of a public domain, are very important to modern society because of the rising dominance of information as a commodity (software, patents, genetic engineering, etc.), and Boyle makes that come alive with examples, wonderfully coherent logic, and a refreshing sense of humility. Not the easiest of reads, as copyright/public domain argument is a new concept to pretty much everyo [...]

    20. Very thorough, to the point of being looong.You probably wouldn't want to read the whole thing unless you're *particularly* interested in the subject.It *is* an important subject, though, and this does provide a good perspective on it.The book is well-written and balanced. I like that the author keeps bringing the argument back to first principles, and that he *doesn't* have all the answers: here are the factors that need to be balanced; here are the factors that current laws/rulings ignore, mak [...]

    21. I just finished this over the weekend as preparation for a brief talk I have to give on privacy issues when libraries offer social networks (Facebook-like services). This is a very entertaining and accessible review of the conflict presented by a 19th and 20th century approach to IP, particularly copyright, in the 21st century. Copyright has become as much a hindrance as a help and Boyle expertly explains the difference and why it matters.

    22. This book introduced me to the concept of "cultural environmentalism," and the extent to which intellectual property laws are restricting the flow of ideas rather than improving them. In the same way that informed citizens and voters need a basic understanding of the economy, the digital age requires an understanding of intellectual property. I will make it a point to keep abreast of that area of the law.

    23. Read this one for school. I found it engaging and insightful, and I certainly appreciated the humor with which the author approached this topic. Much like many books of this type, I found the prescriptives at the end a little tacked on and I think he has a bit too much faith in Creative Commons. But his point that our current approach to copyright law needs to change is well made, and I hope many people receive it and appreciate it.

    24. Great read! But then I enjoy the intellectual property/Copyright stories. Throughout the book he cites many examples, Disney, Apple, and many other groups I love to hate. One of the most interesting is the entire life of the song that started as a hymn, was 'borrowed' by Ray Charles for 'I Got a Woman,' and later borrowed by Kanye West for 'Golddigger.' Seems lots of sampling happened long ago as well.

    25. Ok, a book about copyright probably doesn't sound very interesting to the non-lawyer, non-librarian audience. But, as James Boyle argues in this very accessible book, issues of intellectual property rights are becoming increasingly relevant to the average person going about her way absorbing and creating contemporary culture. Whether you're interested in music, literature, or biotechnology, you should read this book.

    26. Not as approachable for me as McLeod's book on the same topic, but still an interesting read with some good points about IP issues. Some good technical points, to be sure, but Boyle's super "rah rah capitalism and private property" bit is a bit much for me. Still worth reading to get a handle on IP, though!

    27. Fascinating book, that covers the history of Copyright, Patents and Intellectual Property (IP) and how the original intent of the framers have become distorted in modern times.The chapter on the effects of IP on Databases was fascinating. The sad thing is the lack of political will to act on the actual evidence that providing protection for databases does not promote innovation.

    28. Prof. Boyle ought to be emulated by more public intellectuals. He makes the somewhat arcane topic of intellectual property accessible and interesting. The Public Domain is a well-written, highly persuasive account of how the blind expansion of IP rights has cheated consumers, impeded technological progress and stifled artistic creativity.

    29. Mired in some repetition and legalese, Boyle's book is nevertheless a balanced and important investigation of our need to radically overhaul intellectual property. His many examples make clear how outdated and counterproductive our current practices and laws are regarding copyright. It does not help innovation; it prevents it.

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