I first got into considering copyright law by way of knitting blogs, and discussions of pattern sharing. (Many, many flame wars.) “Common as Air; revoluton, art, and ownership”, by Lewis Hyde, is a discussion of intellectual property and the ways history and geography have created to consider the products of the mind.
Hyde quotes Thomas Jefferson as saying,” The field of knowledge is the common property of mankind.” (And oh, do I want to fling that at some teapartier, some day.) Of course, the idea of “commons,” appearing in places like Creative Commons, is discussed. A mention is made of the World Trade Organization persuading Saudi Arabia to reform their views regarding bootlegging, which is traced back to Islamic law, in which a thief who stole a book was considered to only steal the paper and ink, because the ideas were not tangible property.
I think Susie has mentioned the fierce competition and industrial spying in the fashion world, and how it has invigorated the field. Talking about reworked plot lines, Ursula K. LeGuin said something like, “We all stand on the shoulders of giants,” leading us to consider Jung’s archetypes. Steve Job’s retirement will probably prompt some discussion of who owns what, and why. Like I said, I’ve only started the book, but it looks like a thorough review of a complicated subject. I hope it at least touches on the power of money and how the drive to get money has influenced the consideration of ideas. I’m looking forward to getting deeper into this book.