Monday, December 01, 2008

James Boyle - The Public Domain

James Boyle is one of the most interesting people working in the area of intellectual property. His 1996 book Shamans, Software, and Spleens was an early and engaging look at whether intellectual property law had become tilted too heavily in favour of rights-holders. In Bound by Law he collaborated with Keith Aoki and Jennifer Jenkins to produce something other than "grey lawyerly prose" - an entertaining comic book guide to the way in which IP law is crippling documentary film-makers. He's chair of the Creative Commons board. Oh, and he also writes novels.

In his latest book - The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind - he has produced another fascinating read. Starting by asking just why the US government issued a patent on making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches(!) he argues that we have allowed IP law to grow in an almost unfettered way and that this "New Enclosure Movement" has created an environment which stifles creativity and jeopardises the notion of the public domain.

Best of all, he's practising what he preaches by making the book available in its entirety for free under a Creative Commons licence.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link to this book I look forward to reading it over the weekend.
    I only dropped in to see if you had any thoughts on the UK DNA DB ruling and I was not disappointed. Thanks for taking the time out to post.