Week 3-Boyle

Although I am not nearly as far along as I would like to be in our reading for this week (Boyle), I am interested and intrigued by what this man has to say. It’s been a long week, so reading time as not come easy, don’t worry, I’ll be done by next weekend!

At the very beginning of this book, he had me hooked. He starts out by telling us exactly where he stands on his view of copyright (page 106 on kindle cloud reader). He tells us that he things copyright, or intellectual property, laws are outdated and that the whole policy is going in the wrong direction. If we don’t do something about it, it’s just going to get worse and worse. I had never really thought much about the long-term effects of such long copyright laws. To be quite honest with you, I had NO IDEA how long these rights lasted…70 plus years after the creator has passed away…Wow, that seems a little crazy, even for someone who doesn’t know much about these laws, like me!

Going right along with crazy long copyright laws, I had never thought about how this could damage a library, an electronic library. The point that he makes here is a good one. Many libraries today are making many of their books and articles available for reading via the internet. I did not know that if there is a copyright law in effect on a specific piece, and the creator is no longer alive to give permission to make it available, they can’t make it digital. This seems INSANE to me. Why would someone not want their work to go digital? I know a lot more people who use internet libraries that actually going to the library. Take me, for example. I live about four hours away from the campus of the university I attend. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t go to Hamersly Library to do some research. If I needed to see something that was available only in book form, I would be in trouble. I guess I just don’t see the point here. I think if a library has a book, it should be legal to make it digital. Obviously not for printing, but for viewing online only. (ideas from page 230, kindle cloud reader.)

Then Boyle talks about how we can fix the problem. I like that he actually thinks of some solutions to the problem, instead of just complaining about them. He talks about making the life of the copyright shorter, much shorter (5-10 years) and then having to purchase the extra years separately. I think this is absolutely brilliant. Most authors are going to get what they want from he piece they publish within that time frame. If they think there is more life left, go ahead and get some more time. There is no need for someone to have “rights” to a particular piece for more than 70 years after they are deceased. I’m sure there is more than meets the eye here…But, I think that the damage (think of the libraries) is going to very much outweigh the advantages of having such a long-terms. (page 305-316, kindle cloud reader.)

I am very excited to see how the rest of this book plays out. I think Boyle has some great ideas and I want to learn more about all of it. More next week!

2 thoughts on “Week 3-Boyle

  1. I agree when you say “I think if a library has a book, it should be legal to make it digital” – but as always, with copyright law, it’s inevitably more complex than that. Before digital distribution was a household word, when the library lent you a book, they no longer had that book available to lend until you brought it back; now, with digital systems like Overdrive — http://www.overdrive.com/ — they can lend you an e-book, but are still hamstrung by copyright laws that require the file to be removed from your device at the end of the loan period – meanwhile withholding that digital copy from other patrons. It’s complex, but yet another necessary workaround as technology waits patiently for lawmakers to play catch up.

    Now, there are ways for us to reproduce this content ourselves, because with simple household tech, “the triggers of copyright—reproduction, distribution—can be activated by individual footsteps” (Boyle, 52), rather than publishing houses – all we need is a pristine digital copy to start our own publishing house/distributor – so you can imagine how paranoid publishers are about “lending” those out!

    Works Cited

    Boyle, James. The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. Print.

  2. It always amazes me how we can read the same book and take away different perspectives on what we have read. Your comments on making printed materials into digital format hit home with me. I am perplexed, as are you, as to why the length of the creators copyright protection occurs automatically. It seems to me that if someone still had an interest in their work, they should be required to take the steps necessary to maintain the copyright in force. This would allow books that are out of print to be made available and protect those who still had a vested interest in a work. I like my Kindle but have found that some of my favorite books are not available. Now I know why.

    There is a real danger that our children will be unable to read the books we did as children because they will be unavailable. I can remember reading books to my two daughters that I enjoyed. Some of them are now out of print. We can still find some of them but others are scarce and pricey when we do find them. Having them available in digital format would be nice if it is too expensive to reprint. Maybe we will need to keep lists of books for our grandchildren to read to their children after these wonderful works finally fall into public domain! I do agree with Boyle and you that the copyright laws need to be reworked.

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