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Publisher's Summary

Our failure to appreciate the importance of the public domain—the realm of material that is free for anyone to use without permission or fee—limits free speech, digital creativity, and scientific innovation, argues the author of this book. The public domain is under siege, and James Boyle explains why and how we must protect it.
©2008 Yale University Press (P)2008 Yale University Press
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Paul on 03-29-10

Great Book, Unpracticed Narrator

This creative commons book is best read, and not listened to. The narrator is not bad overall - his voice has clarity, maturity, warmth and character - but he inserts strange-sounding pauses here and there, which is distracting. You can tell when he's reached the end of a particular line, but not the end of the sentence, which introduces discordance into the listening experience.

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3 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Nate on 04-24-14

The best everyman's book on Intellectual Property

If you could sum up The Public Domain in three words, what would they be?

brilliant, balanced, accurate

What other book might you compare The Public Domain to and why?

FREE: The Future of a Radical Price, by Chris Anderson talks about today's digital "free" market, how it is possible, and how it works. This overlaps greatly on the topic of the Public Domain.

Against Intellectual Property, by N. Stephan Kinsella gives a more negative view about the benefits of Intellectual Property and proposes that most or all IP rights should be either eliminated or severely culled.

Everything is a Remix, by Kirby Ferguson, is a video series outlining some of the very same issues and examples and arguments as this book.

Have you listened to any of David Stampone’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The voice performance is pretty good.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This book strengthened my knowledge of the IP landscape.

Any additional comments?

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.

It addresses the many misconceptions that most people have about "stealing" ideas, expanding rights, and fair use. It describes the problematic approach that many turn to of using analogies to the physical world when talking about ideas. It suggests a solution based on a concept of the "environment" that helped sustainability become mainstream. And it does this all with a balanced perspective. The author states repeatedly that he is not anti-intellectual property. It can be very useful and very important, when our founding fathers' cautions regarding its reach are heeded.

Although occasionally you may find spots that are a bit technical and difficult to fully understand, keep going. As someone with no professional background in law or intellectual property, most of this book is fairly simple and easy to understand.

This should be required reading at every public high school, or at the very least, every accredited university. Today's culture has such a biased view on intellectual property, and such a careless attitude towards our intellectual commons that we don't realize how badly things are headed. Individual situations catch our ire occasionally; bad software patents, or patents on DNA sequences, or patent trolls, but we fail to realize that these problems are systemic, and part of a much larger problem of mindshare and mindset.

I would implore everyone to read this book. Become educated on this portion of our constitution and its current state. The only way to combat our slide towards greater and greater government-granted monopoly rights is to educate the public, the lawmakers, lawyers, and yes, lobbyists, CEOs, and the men and women in our judicial system, especially judges and juries.

I only wish the author could update and re-release the book every couple of years, as things today are even worse than when the book was published.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Kris Als on 03-03-17

thought provoking book on property right

Great and well written book on a high impact legal discipline (intellectual property rights) and our legislators' approach to developing this domain. Focus is on what it's there to protect and encourage (a striving public domain for an ever developing human kind) and how our system has lost sight of those values. thoroughly enjoyed the book. An important contribution

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