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[BKARTS] "Bookforum": "Digital environmentalists" in the land of intellectual property

Interesting article reviewed in the Chronicle of Higher Education, 2/3/05


A glance at the February/March issue of "Bookforum": "Digital
environmentalists" in the land of intellectual property

Copyright laws are becoming more restrictive than ever, but a growing
movement of "digital environmentalists" is trying to counter the trend,
says Robert S. Boynton, an assistant professor of journalism at New York

Drawing inspiration from environmentalists, who were able to "convince a
swath of the population -- consumers and industrialists alike -- that they
all had a stake in this thing called 'the environment,' rather than just
the small patch of land where they lived," he says, "digital
environmentalists are raising our awareness of the intellectual 'land' to
which people ought to feel entitled."

Intellectual property is not the same as physical property, nor is it
governed by the same standards, Mr. Boynton says. But copyright holders and
the lawyers who advise them tend to claim as much exclusivity for their
intellectual property as possible, he writes, and the digital
environmentalists maintain that those owners should be watched closely to
ensure that they do not overstep their bounds.

"Working within existing law," he writes, the digital environmentalists
"propose that artists and authors aggressively exercise their
intellectual-property rights in the face of threats and legal challenges
from overbearing copyright holders."

But that will continue to be difficult, Mr. Boynton says, because the
defenders of fair use are often individuals with few resources to press
their claims.

"Can an artist," he asks, "who spends a fortune in legal fees successfully
defending his legitimate fair use of a copyrighted image really be said to
have won?"

The article, "Righting Copyright: Fair Use and 'Digital Environmentalism,'"
is online at http://www.bookforum.com/boynton.html

Peter D. Verheyen
Bookbinder & Conservator, PA - AIC
The Book Arts Web & Book_Arts-L Listserv

    The Bonefolder: an e-journal for the bookbinder and book artist

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