Why the Public Domain Matters

The Endangered Wellspring of Creativity, Commerce and Democracy

New America Foundation and Public Knowledge, by David Bollier

May 2002, Published by Public Knowledge, 1875 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 650, Washington, DC, 20009, 202-518-0020, publicknowledge.org, and New America Foundation, 1630 Connecticut Ave, NW, 7th floor, Washington, DC, 20009, 202- 986-2700, www.newamerica.net

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Bollier presents an easy-to-read overview of a complex subject. The public domain, once seen as the repository for historic (read valueless) intellectual property, has been changed by the advent of online technology into an important component of the culture and economy. This territory is now the field of conflict between the "content industries" - publishers of film, popular music, and entertainment whose economic interests are served by broader-reaching restrictive copyright protections - and those who promote a freer exchange of information, as evidenced by the explosive growth of the Internet.