Professor James Boyle and the fight for Creative Commons

http://www.dukemagazine.duke.edu/alumni/dm31/napster1.jpgI have already blogged about Professor Boyle’s latest book The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind. And having heard him interviewed by Laurie Taylor on a recent Thinking Allowed broadcast on Radio 4, I was excited to hear he would be speaking in to staff in the British Library.

He did not disappoint, being erudite, passionate and amusing in his explanation of the rapid (since the 1970’s) and significant (from 28 years to life + 70 years) expansion of copy right restrictions.

One of his most memorable points for me was the deafening silence from the US Copyright Office when asked how he could make his work copyright free. His point being, that the law has been extended to cover all creative works with no regard to the views of the authors who want to allow access.

Cover of comic, superhero with video camera and creative commons shieldHe talked about my current favourite ‘book’ on copyright issues, produced by his colleagues at the Center for the Study of the Public Domain. It is actually a comic called Tales from the Public Domain: BOUND BY LAW? and is freely available.

He asked how many in the audience would have predicted that the open and non-hierarchical approach underlying the Wikipedia project would have resulted in a resource as accurate as Encyclopaedia Britannica, but twenty times the size, and updated in real-time.

Finally he explained the role of the Creative Commons movement in making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright.

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