James Boyle is professor of law and co-founder of the Centre for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University and author of The Public Domain: enclosing the commons of the mind.
In his new book The Public Domain, Professor James Boyle describes how our culture, science and economic welfare all depend on the delicate balance between those ideas that are controlled and those that are free, between intellectual property and the public domain —the realm of material that everyone is free to use and share without permission or fee
Intellectual property laws have a significant impact on many important areas of human endeavour, 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.
Is the public domain as vital to knowledge, innovation and culture as the realm of material protected by intellectual property rights? James Boyle thinks so and visits the RSA to call for a new movement to preserve it. If we continue to enclose the “commons of the mind”, Boyle argues, we will all be the poorer.