The Public Domain: Professor James Boyle’s latest book wins 2008 McGannon Award

May 27, 2009Duke Law News

The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind by Professor James Boyle was selected as the winner of the 2008 Donald McGannon Award for Social and Ethical Relevance in Communications Policy Research.

Published by Yale University Press, The Public Domain argues that our music, culture, science and economic welfare all depend on a delicate balance between those ideas that are controlled and those that are free, between intellectual property and the public domain. Boyle claims this balance has been upset and argues that the erosion of the public domain is something every citizen should care about.

“Professor Boyle's book thoroughly and incisively tackles a topic that will no doubt be at the forefront of the communications policy agenda for years to come,” said Philip Napoli, professor of communications and media management in the Fordham University School of Business and director of Fordham’s Donald McGannon Communication Research Center. “Our reviewers were virtually unanimous in their selection of Professor Boyle's book as the best of a very competitive crop of high quality books.”

The Public Domain was selected from 60 books that had been nominated for the McGannon Award, which carries a $2,000 prize. Previous winners include Lawrence Lessig, Yochai Benkler, and Daniel Solove.

“If you just bought the last 20 years of McGannon Award winners, you’d have a really good library on communications policy,” said Boyle, Duke’s William Neal Reynolds Professor of Law and co-founder of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain. “Being on that list is an honor.”
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