To be quite honest, I had a very hard time reading this book. When I first started reading, I was afraid that I was not going to have any interest in the book at all. As I got a little further in, I started to keep up a bit. I felt way over my head when I first started. I don’t know if I was not focused, or if I was just not up for hearing yet another opinion on copyright laws! However, I did agree with what Yochai Benkler says in his book “The Wealth of Networks”.
Although there is much to say about the thinkings of Benkler, I want to focus on one specific point. I try not to quote often, but I think this is worthy of quoting: “…The result is that a good deal more that human beings value can now be done by individuals, who interact with each other socially, as human beings and as social beings, rather than as market actors through the price system.” (Location 142) I think this is the central problem of all the things that we have going on today. The law makers, and the actual users of copyrighted material think of things that are not even in the same realm of thinking. When I share a piece of copyrighted material, I’m not doing so to benefit myself, I’m doing it because I WANT to share what I have learned. I don’t want anything in return; it’s just what we do.
We are living in a society now where we share everything. I can do virtually anything I want from my iPhone, whenever I want. I can take pictures of something I saw and send it immediately to whomever I please. We are in such a connected world that these copyright laws do us no good. Really, the only thing that these laws are doing is making that information harder (or scarier, if the laws aren’t clear) about what we can or cannot share. I think that Boyle would agree. Our laws need to be caught up to what we are now living. We are living in the fast lane, but our copyright laws are stuck at a toll bridge. It’s time to do some revamping!
Another point that Benkler makes is that some of us would take some less “efficient” information that we could use for free and how we please, instead of copyrighted material (Location 527). This is a same thought that I share. I find myself doing this when i am looking for materials for my classroom. Instead of paying a subscription to something, I will find something that may not be as good, but is free, instead. I think that many people, especially teacher, feel the same way. Even if it’s something that is not “free” but we feel that there is a chance of infringement, we will stay away. This takes away from the copyrighted authors, but we are just protecting ourselves. Benkler says that this kind of behavior will later turn into making people want to create and “get more people involved” that what our copyright laws are doing (location 527).
Most of the ideas in this book I share with Benkler. I was surprised by the amount of interest that this book rose in me! I will be looking at more of his work when have more free time!
“The Wealth of Networks” Yochai Benkler (2006)
“The Public Domain” James Boyle (2008)