Copyright & Intellectual Property vs. Public Domain

The often heated discussion about copyright, intellectual property, fair use, & public domain remains an interesting one. Of course it is of special interest to me as a person who produces nearly as much content as I consume. And while most people will agree with the need for certain protections of intellectual property, most people will also agree that that side of the equation will need to be balanced with provisions in law that allow innovation, free speech and contributions to our cultural landscape to flourish.

The Center for the Study of the Public Domain, a non profit organisation at Duke Law School, has made available a worthwhile read in the form of a comic. It examines the legal & ethical boundaries of copyright and intellectual property versus public domain, and the impact that these boundaries have on our society. How far should we go in protecting property? When should people be allowed to use material for their creative pursuits?

The public domain is the realm of material—ideas, images, sounds, discoveries, facts, texts—that is unprotected by intellectual property rights and free for all to use or build upon. Our economy, culture and technology depend on a delicate balance between that which is, and is not, protected by exclusive intellectual property rights. Both the incentives provided by intellectual property and the freedom provided by the public domain are crucial to the balance. But most contemporary attention has gone to the realm of the protected.

The Center for the Study of the Public Domain

So, if this issue is of concern to you, make sure you check out the comic.

Cover of Bound By Law comic

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