James Boyle, an advocate for the public domain, writes in his first chapter, the importance of intellectual property and how it is supposed to not only create incentives for innovation but also to create feedback that, “dictates the contours of information and innovation production”. Boyle recognizes that copyright law is intended to allow an artist to make a living if their works are able to be protected by copyright, however, the extent of the copyright is what he critiques. He writes, “the rights that were supposed to be limited in time and scope to the minimum monopoly necessary to ensure production become instead a kind of perpetual corporate welfare- restraining the next generation of creators instead of encouraging them”. Boyle believes that the extension of copyright is in the favor of large corporations who wish to seek profit rather than seek creation, which is the basis for the copyright law. He continues to write that he believes that the goal of the system (protection laws as a whole) should be monopolized only as long enough to provide incentives and then should be released into the public domain so that the public can benefit as well. He also points out that for most owners make all the money they will receive within five or ten years and that the remaining years are of little use. Another point Boyle also makes is that there are many works that have unidentified copyright owners or owners that just cannot be found which can be difficult for libraries who need permission to reproduce that material and therefore cannot if they cannot find the owner. This he believes is harmful to the public and does not allow them access to something that one may have permission to use but simply cannot get that permission due to the lack of information about the owner. Boyle argues that the extension of copyright law was lengthened without any evidence that it would encourage innovation.
James Boyle’s argument for the protection of the public domain is convincing and it is convincing as my opposing argument for my paper. He provides an argument unlike other arguments that I have found because he not only discusses the corporate perspective but also the length of time that an owner actually receives payment for his work under copyright law. His argument is important to my paper because it provides a counter-argument that is strong and concise.