James Boyle, in his award-winning new book, The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind (Yale University Press), introduces readers to the idea of the public domain and describes how it is being greatly eroded by our out-of-touch and harsh copyright, patent, and trademark laws. “In the age of the Internet, what are lawmakers doing to protect the public from copyright? This is the central question Boyle considers as he explores the history, application and future of intellectual property laws to works of authorship using contemporary technologies,” wrote Julie Cromer Young, Thomas Jefferson School of Law in her review of this work.
Boyle, a law professor and co-founder of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University, embarks on a series of fascinating case studies in this literary work, explaining why basic business ideas and pairs of musical notes are now owned, why jazz might be illegal if it were invented today, and why most of 20th Century culture is legally unavailable to us.
“Intellectual property laws have a significant impact on many important areas of human endeavor, including scientific innovation, digital creativity, cultural access and free speech. And so Boyle argues that, just as every informed citizen needs to know at least something about the environment or civil rights, every citizen in the information age should also have an understanding of intellectual property law,” reports online research base Counterpoint.
In a rave review, Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, wrote, “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!”