Tuesday, August 24, 2010

[Book Review] An Un-'Common' Take On Copyright Law; NPR, 8/24/10

[Book Review] ]Michael Schaub, NPR; An Un-'Common' Take On Copyright Law:

"Some people believe that not only are current copyright laws too stringent, but that the assumptions the current laws are based on are artificial, illogical and outdated.

Among them is Lewis Hyde, a professor of art and politics who has studied these issues for years. In his new book Common As Air, Hyde says he's suspicious of the concept of "intellectual property" to begin with, calling it "historically strange." Hyde backs it up with an impressive amount of research; he spends a significant amount of time reflecting on the Founding Fathers, who came up with America's initial copyright laws.

Hyde is a contrarian, but he's not a scorched-earth opponent of all copyright laws. He does believe the national paradigm for intellectual property issues should be changed, though, at one point offering several examples of the absurd situations the current laws have created. (In one particularly weird example, an e-book publisher insisted its edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland "cannot be lent to someone else" and "cannot be read aloud.") Hyde advocates for a return to a "cultural commons" and quotes, approvingly, Thomas Jefferson, who believed that "ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man."


No comments: