counter Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership - Free Download Books
Hot Best Seller

Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership

Availability: Ready to download

Common as Air offers a stirring defense of our cultural commons, that vast store of art and ideas we have inherited from the past and continue to enrich in the present. Suspicious of the current idea that all creative work is intellectual property, Lewis Hyde turns to America's Founding Fathers--men like Adams, Madison, and Jefferson--in search of other ways to imagine the Common as Air offers a stirring defense of our cultural commons, that vast store of art and ideas we have inherited from the past and continue to enrich in the present. Suspicious of the current idea that all creative work is intellectual property, Lewis Hyde turns to America's Founding Fathers--men like Adams, Madison, and Jefferson--in search of other ways to imagine the fruits of human wit and imagination. What he discovers is a rich tradition in which knowledge was assumed to be a commonwealth, not a private preserve. For the founders, democratic self-governance itself demanded open and easy access to ideas. So did the growth of creative communities such as that of eighteenth-century science. And so did the flourishing of public persons, the very actors whose civic virtue brought the nation into being. In this lively, carefully argued, and well-documented book, Hyde brings the past to bear on present matters, shedding fresh light on everything from the Human Genome Project to Bob Dylan's musical roots. Common as Air allows us to stand on the shoulders of America's revolutionary giants and thus to see beyond today's narrow debates over cultural ownership. What it reveals is nothing less than a vision of how to reclaim the commonwealth of art and ideas that we were meant to inherit.


Compare

Common as Air offers a stirring defense of our cultural commons, that vast store of art and ideas we have inherited from the past and continue to enrich in the present. Suspicious of the current idea that all creative work is intellectual property, Lewis Hyde turns to America's Founding Fathers--men like Adams, Madison, and Jefferson--in search of other ways to imagine the Common as Air offers a stirring defense of our cultural commons, that vast store of art and ideas we have inherited from the past and continue to enrich in the present. Suspicious of the current idea that all creative work is intellectual property, Lewis Hyde turns to America's Founding Fathers--men like Adams, Madison, and Jefferson--in search of other ways to imagine the fruits of human wit and imagination. What he discovers is a rich tradition in which knowledge was assumed to be a commonwealth, not a private preserve. For the founders, democratic self-governance itself demanded open and easy access to ideas. So did the growth of creative communities such as that of eighteenth-century science. And so did the flourishing of public persons, the very actors whose civic virtue brought the nation into being. In this lively, carefully argued, and well-documented book, Hyde brings the past to bear on present matters, shedding fresh light on everything from the Human Genome Project to Bob Dylan's musical roots. Common as Air allows us to stand on the shoulders of America's revolutionary giants and thus to see beyond today's narrow debates over cultural ownership. What it reveals is nothing less than a vision of how to reclaim the commonwealth of art and ideas that we were meant to inherit.

30 review for Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership

  1. 4 out of 5

    Craig Werner

    An important book which provides a clear compelling argument for taking the notion of the "commons" seriously in relation to intellectual property. Hyde resists the romantic notions of the commons popularized by the influential (overly so) essay "The Tragedy of the Commons," emphasizing the centrality of "stints" (limitations of various sorts)to the actual use of commons. He does back to the founding fathers--the real thinking beings, not the tea party caricatures--and demonstrates that they saw An important book which provides a clear compelling argument for taking the notion of the "commons" seriously in relation to intellectual property. Hyde resists the romantic notions of the commons popularized by the influential (overly so) essay "The Tragedy of the Commons," emphasizing the centrality of "stints" (limitations of various sorts)to the actual use of commons. He does back to the founding fathers--the real thinking beings, not the tea party caricatures--and demonstrates that they saw copyright as a part of a bigger picture contribuing to the public good. In practice what that means is allowing for limited term copyright with the clear understanding that the material would be released into the public domain within a generation (about 19 years at most). While the meat of the book is Hyde's historical excavation, he does a nice job applying his argument to the cases of the human genome, Bob Dylan's music, and the absolutely tragic commodification of the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. (by King's own heirs). Hyde relies on the founding fathers--especially Franklin, Madison and Jefferson, with a bit of Adams tossed in--not as authorities per se but because they developed arguments in a rigorous manner which is absolutely foreign to our current public sphere. I'll be using this book a lot. Highly recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alex Price

    Lewis Hyde was born in 1945 and is a very influential writer who focuses on creativity of people, their imaginations and property. Furthermore, Hyde is a cultural critic as well as a translator. He is responsible for books such as The Gift (983), Trickster Makes this World (1998) and Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership (2010). The latter is a plea that fights for intellectual property of literature from exploitation by commercial interests around the world. The book has received positi Lewis Hyde was born in 1945 and is a very influential writer who focuses on creativity of people, their imaginations and property. Furthermore, Hyde is a cultural critic as well as a translator. He is responsible for books such as The Gift (983), Trickster Makes this World (1998) and Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership (2010). The latter is a plea that fights for intellectual property of literature from exploitation by commercial interests around the world. The book has received positive review across the world showing how people are interested in protecting intellectual property as well as allowing others to access such information for free. The book Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership defends the cultural norms of our society from exploitation. Hyde believes that these ideas we have inherited them from the past and we need to have the freedom to enrich them. He uses history to show how people used to enjoy collective land rights during the era of our founding fathers. In the argument, he states that the founding fathers had warned against privatization of public property such as science, arts, knowledge available and literature as such would be a way of exploiting monopolies. For example, Hyde uses Hollywood, the Pharmaceutical industries and agribusiness are some entities that have privatized public knowledge into private property by manipulating the law of intellectual property to their advantage. He uses Jefferson to disagree with such moves as he states “The field of knowledge is the common property of mankind” while Franklin says that, “As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously” (Lewis Hyde 22). Hyde uses an Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan to show how they believed knowledge is a public property who used to say that "an equation for me has no meaning, unless it represents a thought of God" (Lewis Hyde 20). The input of different people towards the pot of knowledge should be appreciated and not be privatized for personal gains. Hyde believes that it’s upon the people to decide whether they want to have their culture exploited by the few for their personal benefits or should it grow by allowing it as a public property of the community. Franklin did not patent his famous work in making a lightning rod based on the fact that he had drawn knowledge from a common store of knowledge. Therefore, the discovery was dedicated as a common benefit to all people. In the present, some scientists have done exceptional work for the public and as Hyde quotes Nobel Laureate John Sulton about the book he wrote about the mapping of the human genome, “1 am one of those who feel that the earth is a common good," he writes, and the book combines a passionate defense of "the common ownership of the genome" with a description of "the global consequences of ignoring common goods in the quest for short term profit."(Lewis Hyde 14). It shows that some individuals are committed into generating information for the greater good than privatize for their own benefits. The founding fathers used democratic governance as a way of helping people access ideas easily and open up theirs for access by other people. The creative communities in the 18th century grew very fast due to sharing of information and actors thought their work as civic virtue hence improving literature. Hyde manages to show the present how the past used to be and request the greedy individuals and commercial entities that want to exploit others on sharing public information. By shedding light on the Human Genome Project as well as Bob Dylan’s musical roots, it shows how people are ready to allow growth of the nation by sharing knowledge. The book is a stepping top towards the achievement of a society that doesn’t feed on personal success but that which allows people to use other people resources (in the past or present) to improve them for the benefit of the society. Cultural ownership is important and people have the right to access what is rightfully theirs.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Reading for my Remix class, because it provides a thoughtful, reasoned, historically based discussion of what it means to have a cultural commons rather than private property. The debates about intellectual property and remix are too often reduced to Evil Record Companies vs. free and good youth culture in which everyone shares. Even Laurence Lessig, who is a lawyer, contributes to simple minded thinking about freedom and culture; apparently he's more focused on raising awareness about the encro Reading for my Remix class, because it provides a thoughtful, reasoned, historically based discussion of what it means to have a cultural commons rather than private property. The debates about intellectual property and remix are too often reduced to Evil Record Companies vs. free and good youth culture in which everyone shares. Even Laurence Lessig, who is a lawyer, contributes to simple minded thinking about freedom and culture; apparently he's more focused on raising awareness about the encroachment of corporation power than analyzing the concepts of property and creativity as Hyde does. Jonathan Lethem is indebted to Hyde when he writes about art as a gift and about the concept of a cultural commons in his essay "The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism" so I am glad to go to the source rather than getting Lethem's remixed version.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Trey

    Skimmed only. Fantastic writing on an important and interesting topic. I skimmed it only because "intellectual property" isn't my world. It would make for a great group read, discussing our obsession with privatizing and monetizing everything of value. Skimmed only. Fantastic writing on an important and interesting topic. I skimmed it only because "intellectual property" isn't my world. It would make for a great group read, discussing our obsession with privatizing and monetizing everything of value.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Eugene Kernes

    Commons are places and resources for which there are multiple users. Commons are the social relations which organize the use of resources. The commons are highly regulated, carrying various stints or limits to its use. Commons are not to be confused with unregulated resources, as in Hardin’s tale of the tragedy of the commons should formally be called tragedy of the unregulated resources. This book is about the cultural commons, the intellectual use of the arts and innovations. Commons have cert Commons are places and resources for which there are multiple users. Commons are the social relations which organize the use of resources. The commons are highly regulated, carrying various stints or limits to its use. Commons are not to be confused with unregulated resources, as in Hardin’s tale of the tragedy of the commons should formally be called tragedy of the unregulated resources. This book is about the cultural commons, the intellectual use of the arts and innovations. Commons have certain kinds of property rights, limiting or specifying how the various users can utilize the resource. Intellectual property rights, those denoting mostly copyrights and patents are the core of this book. Property being defined as a right of action. A bundle of rights which the user could and could not do with the property. The agency of nonowners, such as exclusion, is part of the potential bundle. Property rights are expressed as a privilege of society, not a natural right that the authors and inventors have. The limitations on use of resources are created to have a sustainable supply of resources. Resources are scarce, limitations on use makes sure that the resources are sustainable, or at least the future will have enough of the resources. Intellectual resources such as ideas, are not scarce but are infinite. The initial limitation of the use of the intellectual resources is to have a constant stream of new ideas and creations. For a limited time, the inventor gets a patent for bringing the invention to the public, and receives a reward. The initial copyrights and patents were designed with a framework for the betterment of society, that the creative ideas help all society when brought to the public. Epistemology, the history of thought on ownership of ideas, and the evolution of ideas are heavily detailed. Ancient times did not see ideas being authored by authors, but some mystical third party using the author as a vessel to commentate the idea. The third party narrative meant that idea were not protected and owned by the authors or inventors, they became common as soon as the idea was communicated. The evolution of ideas from past ideas replaced mystic origins. Creativity builds on other creative works, making the ideas very common to all. The struggle for of intellectual property rights is between how to make sure that creative persons earn a reward for their ideas while allowing the public to utilize the ideas. Patents and copyrights removed the dependency of the creative person on a patron for income, enabling everyone to receive a reward for their work. The copyright is monopoly power, a privilege and not a right. The copyright was limited to a limited duration of about 14 years, once renewable. The time frame allowed the inventor to benefit, and showed when the invention can be used without a payment to the inventor, making it public use. Hyde makes the case that copyrights for intellectual pursuits, for cultural pursuits, are now too exclusive. Excessively exclusionary intellectual property, such as essays, music, and genetics, make many afraid to use property in their own work, creating an inability to improve on them for the betterment of society. Non-corporate owners, individual copyrights now get lifetime plus 70 years, meaning that the dissemination of information and knowledge is highly restricted. Many cultural icons such as Martin Luther King’s essay speech, have so many restrictions and payments which prevent the speech from being used by the public. Cultural commons are important for a self-governing nation of citizens, citizens who actively make their government. A constantly changing culture prevents citizens from being just the audience to government, while highly exclusionary intellectual property rights limit the ability of citizens to shape the culture. Democracy requires an informed public while many debates cannot be held without the dissemination of knowledge. An eloquently written book which is not against property rights, for Hyde takes great measures to show that property rights for ideas are needed in society. But, current property rights prevent the very reason property rights were formed, for the benefit of society. One way to correct the current stranglehold on intellectual pursuits is limit the term of property right for the statistical commercial value. Many projects commercial value is lost within a certain time frame. Using that time frame as a base would provide the author and innovator with all the rewards of their work and enable the public to benefit afterwards.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Phillip

    I really, really like the argument Hyde makes in this book--that the primary concern with the protection and use of cultural and artistic materials should be promoting education and stimulating further cultural creation. He contrasts the copyright and patent protections of the early US republic against the contemporary/post-1976 copyright laws, and argues that today we have allowed content manufacturers (the music industry, film industry, major publishers, etc.) to extend the length of legal con I really, really like the argument Hyde makes in this book--that the primary concern with the protection and use of cultural and artistic materials should be promoting education and stimulating further cultural creation. He contrasts the copyright and patent protections of the early US republic against the contemporary/post-1976 copyright laws, and argues that today we have allowed content manufacturers (the music industry, film industry, major publishers, etc.) to extend the length of legal control over creative materials well beyond any reasonably justified period, to the detriment of the public domain. Hyde traces the history of Western copyright debates, beginning during the Early Modern period, to the early republic, where any author had to apply for copyright for any work he or she deemed commercially viable (meaning the vast majority of texts didn't get copyrighted, because things like pamphlets, sermons, letters, news articles, etc. weren't going to make money), enter a copy with the state library (later Library of Congress), and publicize the copyright, then the copyright was only held for fourteen years subject to renewal for another fourteen if the author wanted to. Today, on the other hand, everything any produces in any tangible medium--including such banal things as grocery lists, tweets, and doodles on napkins--is automatically copyrighted whether the creator wants it to be or not, and is held in copyright for the life of the author plus seventy years, or for ninety five years by a corporate owner. Another change is that derivative works were once not subject to copyright--so if I translated Homer's The Odyssey, I couldn't copyright that text because it was still considered Homer's work, which would be well outside any potential conception of copyright, but today if I translated The Odyssey, I would own the copyright on it for my lifetime and seventy years after my death despite the fact that most readers would be looking for Homer's work and not mine. Hyde argues that the contemporary modes of intellectual and artistic ownership function contrary to the spirit of copyright, which has, for the vast majority of its three hundred year history, been aimed at promoting access to knowledge, culture, and creation for the benefit of the public at large, rather than securing an author or artist's "right" to "their own creation" (which is of course a fantasy anyway, since every "original" creation is the product of generations of cultural practices, influences, predecessors, models, etc.--meaning that creation is socially constituted, rather than a genuine product of "original" genius). The goal of virtually every pre-1976 copyright or patent statute and much of the philosophical and legal wrangling was how to balance incentivizing the creative process against the public's greater right to have access to cultural, intellectual, and artistic materials. One critique I do have is that while Hyde makes much of the tradition of civic republicanism--the worldview where those who occupied a privileged social position or were intellectually gifted gave back to society as a who rather than focusing principally on personal enrichment--in the early republic, he rarely discusses how this tradition of civic republicanism was linked to the oppressive institutions of slavery, indentured servitude, and apprenticeship. It's interesting because Hyde cites Hannah Arendt several times, and Arendt makes clear that the leisure time which, in the ancient world, allowed citizens to engage in philosophy, politics, and the arts was achieved only because slavery and the oppression of women as responsible for the home freed up that leisure time. And while Ben Franklin--Hyde's principle example of civic republicanism--wasn't a direct beneficiary of slavery, Thomas Jefferson--whom Hyde also discusses at length--certainly was. Jefferson had the free time to do all the things he did because he didn't have to spend ten hours a day working his fields. Hyde doesn't really acknowledge that this civic republicanism, tied to the theories of classical Liberalism was premised on exploitative systems of slavery, social class privilege, patriarchy, etc. On the other hand, we now live in a world where, through technology and a just distribution of resources, we could ensure minimal labor time for everyone on the planet with sufficient resources to allow for a massive expansion/democratization of the leisure time required for artistic, intellectual, and philosophical creativity.

  7. 4 out of 5

    CTEP

    Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership traces the cultural and political history of the Commons. “Commons” basically refers to a shared access to resources. A common resource does not belong to one sole person, but to everyone. The Commons therefore is the public. In American culture the commons has a strange history. Author, Lewis Hyde, recounts the change in attitude over the commons through how it has benefited even “self-made men” like Benjamin Franklin. Common as Air is ultimately an Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership traces the cultural and political history of the Commons. “Commons” basically refers to a shared access to resources. A common resource does not belong to one sole person, but to everyone. The Commons therefore is the public. In American culture the commons has a strange history. Author, Lewis Hyde, recounts the change in attitude over the commons through how it has benefited even “self-made men” like Benjamin Franklin. Common as Air is ultimately an argument for the free, but regulated, exchange of ideas. As we progress further into the digital age, ownership seems to becomes more and more blurred. Copyright is an issue that we all run into more frequently. It is generally seen to be the protection of designers and artists. For some, it is a safety net, a guarantee that they will benefit from their own labor. On the other hand, it can be a hinderance on other people. Hyde sites many cases of problematic copyright restrictions, including MLK Jr.’s grandson tendency to deny usage of his grandfather’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. In order to progress the narrative of civil rights forward today, we must be able to site important works of the past (MLK Jr. himself referenced many earlier writers and intellectuals). Another example may be with 3D printers, like those at many CTEP sites. With 3D printers, you can print nearly any object. Anything, I should say, that does not have copyright ownership. If you do not have the money to pay the owner, you are severely limited in how you can use your 3D printer without legal repercussion. Even if you have the ability to make CAD designs, some copyrights deny even slight variations of the original. This forces anyone who wants/needs the object to pay royalties to the originator. This is no more than a monopoly, a monopoly of an idea. Of course the complete control of rights of a creations is a great benefit to the creator, but with no limit it can be highly problematic for societal advancement. Hyde promotes limited monopoly privileges, which is far from a new idea (it's only been in the past century that copyright periods have extended beyond lifetimes). In order to protect the commons it must be regulated. It is just as ridiculous to demand all creations be shared for free as it is to demand all rights reserved for more than a life time. To allow short periods of monopoly privileges over a creations (not discoveries) can act as a strong motivating force. When the period is up, the idea/creation/etc. is open to the commons in order to benefit all people. There must be motivation for people to contribute, but there also needs to be a way to guarantee that contributions are to everyone’s benefit.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jessie Martinovic

    A great eye-opener into the motives behind our creative urges. Well written, however the sheer volume of support reference, the multitudes of varied stories/examples weakened the overall argument in factual confusion.

  9. 5 out of 5

    D

    A helpful read to distinguish the forms of intellectual property, and the boundaries of the Commons. Even as market triumphalists work to extend the range of private property, a movement has arisen to protect the many things best held in common. Most people act as if they had a private understanding but in fact, the Logos is common to all. - Heraclitus Lucubrate - root is ‘lux’ being light itself. Lucubrations are the mental harvest of midnight oil (study, meditations) Scientia Donum Dei Est Unde Ven A helpful read to distinguish the forms of intellectual property, and the boundaries of the Commons. Even as market triumphalists work to extend the range of private property, a movement has arisen to protect the many things best held in common. Most people act as if they had a private understanding but in fact, the Logos is common to all. - Heraclitus Lucubrate - root is ‘lux’ being light itself. Lucubrations are the mental harvest of midnight oil (study, meditations) Scientia Donum Dei Est Unde Vendi Non Potest Knowledge is a gift of God, therefore it cannot be sold. - traditional understanding for medieval Christians Public goods belong to the public domain, that great and ancient storehouse of human innovation. The Magna Carta and the related Great Charter of the Forest guaranteed a range of common rights - every Free-Man shall have the Honey that is found within his Woods. Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties… it shall be the duty of legislatures… in all future periods of this commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences. - The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as drafted by John Adams (1780) Bernard of Chartres in the early 12th Century coined the phrase: In comparison with the ancients, we stand like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants. Arthur Rimbaud: Je est un autre -- I is someone else. De minimis non curat lex -- the law is not interested in trivial matters agonisn - an agon in ancient Greek drama is a verbal contest between two characters on the state, both of whom appeal to the audience, neither having any necessary claim to the truth Antagonism closes the door and silences opponents; agonism welcomes conflict, entertains it, enjoys it even. the Greek distinction between what is our own (idios) and what we hold in common (koinon) and the consequent implication that any life spent wholly on one’s own is by nature idiotic. Benjamin Franklin shares that assumption: intelligence arises in the common world, where many voices can be heard; it belongs to the collectivity, not privacy, and is available especially to those who can master the difficult art of plural listening.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    A good survey of how we have shaped (and can reshape, collectively) the cultural value of creativity. Read it if you want to think about things like: If “I am a collective being“ or if “I is someone else,” then there is a limit to what “I” can own, even of “my” creations... No work is wholly “mine” to begin with. The duty of the citizen in the cultural commons is to find the right relationship between the private ego (the one that responds to need and earns a living) and the public ego (the one t A good survey of how we have shaped (and can reshape, collectively) the cultural value of creativity. Read it if you want to think about things like: If “I am a collective being“ or if “I is someone else,” then there is a limit to what “I” can own, even of “my” creations... No work is wholly “mine” to begin with. The duty of the citizen in the cultural commons is to find the right relationship between the private ego (the one that responds to need and earns a living) and the public ego (the one that receives from the given world and hopes to spread a banquet in return). Or read stories about how heirs to the estates of Martin Luther King Jr. and James Joyce have exploited their forebears’ intellectual property for commercial gain, and thereby undermined/cheapened/surrendered their dignity: As one of [Dexter King’s] defenders has said, “I don’t see how it’s any different from the Disney corporation saying ‘We own Mickey Mouse, and if you want Mickey Mouse on your pages you have to pay a fee.’”... It is precisely the erasure of the distinction between Dr. King and Mickey, the remarkable divergence of what Dr. King's heirs have made of him and what he once made of himself, that needs to be interrogated. Lewis Hyde rarely disappoints.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Scott Lupo

    A fascinating, historical look at intellectual property and the "commons". Lewis Hyde uses history, including American founders history, along with logic to analyze the juxtaposition between privately held information versus information for the public (commons). He uses a variety of relevant examples including Bob Dylan, the human genome, Martin Luther King Jr.'s heirs, James Joyce, Ben Franklin, and a few of the founding fathers. Where is the line between keeping something privately held versus A fascinating, historical look at intellectual property and the "commons". Lewis Hyde uses history, including American founders history, along with logic to analyze the juxtaposition between privately held information versus information for the public (commons). He uses a variety of relevant examples including Bob Dylan, the human genome, Martin Luther King Jr.'s heirs, James Joyce, Ben Franklin, and a few of the founding fathers. Where is the line between keeping something privately held versus having it available to the commons? If information like ideas and art can be considered intellectual property through copyright, where does that leave the commons? A truly democratic society cannot exist without access to information freely that betters society and creates civic citizens. Of course, a balance must be struck. Everything cannot be commons yet it also cannot all be intellectual property. However, it seems the pendulum has swung in favor of intellectual property as advances to technology have muddied the waters. Part law, part philosophy, part history, this book provides a in-depth look into the question of the ownership of information.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cole

    In its structure and organization, Common As Air is Hyde's weakest book, which I think follows the trend of his publications subsequent to The Gift (though, sure, I'm likely romanticizing it). And the reason why this is so unfortunate is because the ideas and arguments are as strong as that first text. Hyde is known for drawing from diverse genres and disciplines in order to build an argument that is thorough and logical, but also emotive. But with Common as Air, as with 'Trickster', I found that In its structure and organization, Common As Air is Hyde's weakest book, which I think follows the trend of his publications subsequent to The Gift (though, sure, I'm likely romanticizing it). And the reason why this is so unfortunate is because the ideas and arguments are as strong as that first text. Hyde is known for drawing from diverse genres and disciplines in order to build an argument that is thorough and logical, but also emotive. But with Common as Air, as with 'Trickster', I found that the stories and examples, instead of flowing naturally toward the argument, felt haphazard and ill-placed. As a result, he continually interrupts the narrative with summaries an explanations, and instead of growing, it just grows repetitive. That being said, the book is about one of the most significant issues of our generation, and everyone working with computers, technology, or any creative person absolutely needs to be exposed to Hyde's outline of intellectual property issues and its larger context.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gina Scioscia

    An excellent book for understanding the history and legislation surrounding copyright that has lead to the current quandry of the 21st century. With SOPA and PIPA bills pending in congress, I found Hyde's book a sobering look at the principles and intentions of copyright & patent law. Fans of Lessig will find another eloquent voice in the fight against the commodification of culture and a champion for rational legislation that protects artistic & intellectual property in fair and realistic ways, An excellent book for understanding the history and legislation surrounding copyright that has lead to the current quandry of the 21st century. With SOPA and PIPA bills pending in congress, I found Hyde's book a sobering look at the principles and intentions of copyright & patent law. Fans of Lessig will find another eloquent voice in the fight against the commodification of culture and a champion for rational legislation that protects artistic & intellectual property in fair and realistic ways, while at the same time allowing for the creative commons to flourish. Hyde is a Faculty Associate at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society and he is also a trememdously gifted writer; I found myself bookmarking page after page so I would remember an exquiste turn of phrase or analogy. A wonderful book!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Martin Cerjan

    Two things: the Constitution grants limited monopolies to creators and inventors and those monopolies should be limited; and nothing is truly original since all work builds on other work. The originalist arguments are interesting, but I'm not sure they would hold much sway with a conservative judiciary. So long as Congress continues to extend protections for select intellectual property, there's probably not much hope. Maybe I'm still not convinced that the "commons" argument is a winner. Everyt Two things: the Constitution grants limited monopolies to creators and inventors and those monopolies should be limited; and nothing is truly original since all work builds on other work. The originalist arguments are interesting, but I'm not sure they would hold much sway with a conservative judiciary. So long as Congress continues to extend protections for select intellectual property, there's probably not much hope. Maybe I'm still not convinced that the "commons" argument is a winner. Everything in this society is given a price tag. It's sad, but it's not pretty watching other people rip creative types off either.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    Lewis Hyde's "Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership" is a wonderful introduction to intellectual property law in its current forms as well as its history in America, as per the intentions of the founding fathers, and Britain. Hyde's prose weaves cultural, historical, and legal ideas into an engaging and challenging introduction to intellectual property and the cultural commons as they apply to us today in the fields of software development, movie and music entertainment, authors and poet Lewis Hyde's "Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership" is a wonderful introduction to intellectual property law in its current forms as well as its history in America, as per the intentions of the founding fathers, and Britain. Hyde's prose weaves cultural, historical, and legal ideas into an engaging and challenging introduction to intellectual property and the cultural commons as they apply to us today in the fields of software development, movie and music entertainment, authors and poets, and even what rights estates have for maintaining the works after the creator's death. This book will make you think and it will change the way you view intellectual property.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Phil Newman

    Wow! This book was challenging to get through. At times the fascinating story is compelling, at other times this book reads like a legal textbook. Somewhere in the middle is a very interesting tale of the evolution of copyrights, copyduty, trademarks, patents, etc... I'm better for having read this book, and if you do any work with 'proprietary' information, I'd recommend you read it as well. The book is full of interesting quotes and tales of ownership. Perhaps my favorite was Pete Seeger's quo Wow! This book was challenging to get through. At times the fascinating story is compelling, at other times this book reads like a legal textbook. Somewhere in the middle is a very interesting tale of the evolution of copyrights, copyduty, trademarks, patents, etc... I'm better for having read this book, and if you do any work with 'proprietary' information, I'd recommend you read it as well. The book is full of interesting quotes and tales of ownership. Perhaps my favorite was Pete Seeger's quote, "In a social system where everything has to be owned..., to leave something unowned means to simply abandon it and allow it to be mistreated. Look what's happened to air and water."

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    A scholarly look at the concept of intellectual property and how it has been handled through the ages. Most people don't take an informed stance on this topic: they either adhere blindly to the legal restrictions surrounding intellectual property, or they ignore them entirely. Lewis Hyde rightly points out that this issue deserves more careful consideration -- from both sides of the divide. Hyde may not be prolific, but he is something of a literary genius... and one of the most impressive profe A scholarly look at the concept of intellectual property and how it has been handled through the ages. Most people don't take an informed stance on this topic: they either adhere blindly to the legal restrictions surrounding intellectual property, or they ignore them entirely. Lewis Hyde rightly points out that this issue deserves more careful consideration -- from both sides of the divide. Hyde may not be prolific, but he is something of a literary genius... and one of the most impressive professors I had at Kenyon.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Woodman

    The author thinks that we have been profoundly wrong in how we have changed the intellectual property laws and copyright in this country, and for back up he goes back to the founding fathers. he does a great job of going through what Ben Franklin patented and what he did not, and why he made those choices. He argues that what we are now doing is not only not what they would have done but that it is not good for the country. It is short and thought provoking and easy to read. Highly recommended.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Heller

    Well-reasoned and evidenced with a great sense of humor. The centerpiece is an examination of the philosophy of sharing and intellectual property in the eighteenth century to understand the framers' ideals. Important caveats that it is easy to be anonymous and share widely when you already are important and have a name. Essentially, it's better to share, but the commons requires care just as it always has. A strong argument against patenting the human genome, with plenty of examples of how proac Well-reasoned and evidenced with a great sense of humor. The centerpiece is an examination of the philosophy of sharing and intellectual property in the eighteenth century to understand the framers' ideals. Important caveats that it is easy to be anonymous and share widely when you already are important and have a name. Essentially, it's better to share, but the commons requires care just as it always has. A strong argument against patenting the human genome, with plenty of examples of how proactively patenting genes sequences whose purpose is unknown hurts progress and science.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chas

    Lewis Hyde, author of "The Gift" and "Tricksters Makes This World" (both "epiphany, in sculpted prose" as Jonathan Lethem so aptly put) presents here what I predict will become the definitive moral argument for the relaxation of copyright and patent laws. Hyde proves, with clear and succinct examples, how our democracy and culture have always been strengthened by a vast and free Cultural Commons, and how the commodification of ideas threatens our very development. Lewis Hyde, author of "The Gift" and "Tricksters Makes This World" (both "epiphany, in sculpted prose" as Jonathan Lethem so aptly put) presents here what I predict will become the definitive moral argument for the relaxation of copyright and patent laws. Hyde proves, with clear and succinct examples, how our democracy and culture have always been strengthened by a vast and free Cultural Commons, and how the commodification of ideas threatens our very development.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Can't say enough about Lewis Hyde. His arguments are so smart and his take is always above the ordinary. This book makes you think differently about intellectual property and makes you long for the good old days of Ben Franklin and John Adams - when being "common" was actually kind of good. Who knew that you can't quote from MLK's "I Have a Dream" but because of the farsightedness of Pete Seeger you can sing "We Shall Overcome." Can't say enough about Lewis Hyde. His arguments are so smart and his take is always above the ordinary. This book makes you think differently about intellectual property and makes you long for the good old days of Ben Franklin and John Adams - when being "common" was actually kind of good. Who knew that you can't quote from MLK's "I Have a Dream" but because of the farsightedness of Pete Seeger you can sing "We Shall Overcome."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    By wandering off into anecdotal stories, the author attempts to tie together an Anglo-American tradition of "commons" with early 18th century legal origins of copyright and the challenges of new media and idea like open source programming, censorship through denying access to material (the James Joyce Estate in particular), and crowd-sourced projects like Wikipedia. Also guilty of playing "what would Benjamin Franklin thing of Napster?" By wandering off into anecdotal stories, the author attempts to tie together an Anglo-American tradition of "commons" with early 18th century legal origins of copyright and the challenges of new media and idea like open source programming, censorship through denying access to material (the James Joyce Estate in particular), and crowd-sourced projects like Wikipedia. Also guilty of playing "what would Benjamin Franklin thing of Napster?"

  23. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    I would not have read this if it had not been on the list for our book club, but once I got started, I found it fascinating and very useful in thinking about the debates around intellectual property. Hyde follows the notion of a "commons" from England, into colonial times, and through the writings of the Founding Fathers. He argues persuasively that current copyright law and notions of "intellectual property" do much to stifle creativity and impede cultural production. Highly recommended! I would not have read this if it had not been on the list for our book club, but once I got started, I found it fascinating and very useful in thinking about the debates around intellectual property. Hyde follows the notion of a "commons" from England, into colonial times, and through the writings of the Founding Fathers. He argues persuasively that current copyright law and notions of "intellectual property" do much to stifle creativity and impede cultural production. Highly recommended!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Interesting. Highly readable and accessible for the non-specialist. Clear, fluid explanations of some potentially fairly "dry" concepts. Hyde understands the density of his topic and supplies helpful summaries throughout so that just when I was concerned he might be losing me, he swept in with a summary that helped me stay with his exposition. Highly recommended for academics and artists of all sorts who wonder about the intersection of copyright and common knowledge. Interesting. Highly readable and accessible for the non-specialist. Clear, fluid explanations of some potentially fairly "dry" concepts. Hyde understands the density of his topic and supplies helpful summaries throughout so that just when I was concerned he might be losing me, he swept in with a summary that helped me stay with his exposition. Highly recommended for academics and artists of all sorts who wonder about the intersection of copyright and common knowledge.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel

    "Those who claim rights of ownership have...duties to stint their claims such that anyone coming later will (in Locke's words) find that 'enough, and as good' has been 'left in common.' Simply put, if the commons are to be made durable, the commoners need to act on, to codify even, the duties that arise from being who they are." "Those who claim rights of ownership have...duties to stint their claims such that anyone coming later will (in Locke's words) find that 'enough, and as good' has been 'left in common.' Simply put, if the commons are to be made durable, the commoners need to act on, to codify even, the duties that arise from being who they are."

  26. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    Not as wide-ranging or full of revelation and joyful a-ha moments as his earlier works, a bit too cautious for me, but still - such a pleasure to read his scholarly defense of the cultural commons. Hyde is always a gentle antidote to the rigidity of idées fixes - like the current insane and futile (to me, at least) drive to privatize and commodify every last thing, dead or alive.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Corey

    I would have given it five stars but it got a little long-winded through the middle third of the book. Having said that anyone interested in the issues of scholarly open access or net neutrality should definitely read this to provide context for the issues.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marjorie Hakala

    I was unexpectedly charmed by this. It's articulate and well structured (which sounds like faint praise, though what I really mean is that it was easy to read), and it's deeply historically literate. Hyde chose to write this as an argument instead of a manifesto, and I appreciate that a great deal. I was unexpectedly charmed by this. It's articulate and well structured (which sounds like faint praise, though what I really mean is that it was easy to read), and it's deeply historically literate. Hyde chose to write this as an argument instead of a manifesto, and I appreciate that a great deal.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rekha

    Best thing I have read on this subject in terms of readability. This topic is difficult for folks who aren't already really interested in it (hi librarians), but this one makes it accessible and engaging whether you know nothing or a lot about it. Best thing I have read on this subject in terms of readability. This topic is difficult for folks who aren't already really interested in it (hi librarians), but this one makes it accessible and engaging whether you know nothing or a lot about it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    I always appreciate a book that engages in a learned and civil conversation. This book does so very well. My understanding was deepened and my mind opened by reading it. I'm grateful for Hyde's contribution to our cultural commons. I always appreciate a book that engages in a learned and civil conversation. This book does so very well. My understanding was deepened and my mind opened by reading it. I'm grateful for Hyde's contribution to our cultural commons.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.