James Boyle's THE PUBLIC DOMAIN: ENCLOSING THE COMMONS OF THE MIND is one of the most important books you will read this year. Here's the blog, the url, and the instructions for free downloads of this invaluable, passionate, and wittily written (and even charming!) book. Read it now!
Here's the url for the website: http://www.thepublicdomain.org/.
And here is a reblog from the website:
Our music, our culture, our science,and our economic welfare all depend on a delicate balance between thoseideas that are controlled and those that are free, between intellectualproperty and the public domain. In The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind(Yale University Press) James Boyle introduces readers to the idea ofthe public domain and describes how it is being tragically eroded byour current copyright, patent, and trademark laws. In a series offascinating case studies, Boyle explains why gene sequences, basicbusiness ideas and pairs of musical notes are now owned, why jazz mightbe illegal if it were invented today, why most of 20th century cultureis legally unavailable to us, and why today?s policies would probablyhave smothered the World Wide Web at its inception. Appropriately givenits theme, the book will be sold commercially but also made availableonline for free under a Creative Commons license.
Boyle?s book is a clarion call. In thetradition of the environmental movement, which first invented and thensought to protect something called ?the environment,? Boyle hopes thatwe can first understand and then protect the public domain ? theecological center of the ?information environment.?
With a clear analysis of issues rangingfrom Thomas Jefferson?s philosophy of innovation to musical sampling,from Internet file sharing and genetic engineering to patented peanutbutter sandwiches, this articulate and charming book brings a positivenew perspective to important cultural and legal debates, including whatBoyle calls the ?range wars of the information age?: today?s heatedbattles over intellectual property. Intellectual property rights havebeen viewed as geeky, technical and inaccessible. Boyle shows that, asa culture, we can no longer afford the luxury of this kind of willedignorance. The ?enclosure of the commons of the mind? matters and itmatters to all of us. ?Boyle has been the godfather of the Free CultureMovement since his extraordinary book, Shamans, Software, and Spleensset the framework for the field a decade ago,? says Lawrence Lessig, ?In this beautifully written and subtly argued book, Boyle hassucceeded in resetting that framework, and beginning the work in thenext stage of this field. The Public Domain is absolutely crucial tounderstanding where the debate has been, and where it will go. AndBoyle?s work continues to be at the center of that debate.?
(Thanks go to Joao Moreira deSa Coutinho for selflessly providing the domain, to Dean Jansen fornifty site design and expert tinkering, and to Jonathan Zittrain forproviding the model.)