The Center for the Study of the Public Domain to launce lecture series

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Professor James Boyle

The Center for the Study of the Public Domain is starting a lecture series on “The Information Ecology,” featuring presentations by scholars from Duke and around the country. The subject matter is broad, going well beyond intellectual property into related areas such as innovation economics, Internet and communications policy, cyberlaw, genomics, and a variety of other subjects. The Center will invite colleagues from around Duke and from neighboring universities to attend, and the events also will be open to students. Lectures typically will be at the Law School on Friday afternoons at 4 p.m. and will be followed by discussion and a reception.

The first lecture, to be held Sept. 19 at 4 p.m., will address the economic irrationality of Internet copyright rules (see details below). Subsequent lectures being planned will deal with proposals to transform the economics of the digital music distribution system, empirical research on the effects of patents on innovation, the possibility of using “distributed networks” for genomic research and other forms of creative activity, and the paradoxes of privacy policy.

“The Center is particularly interested in using these events to build connections among scholars across disciplines and among universities,” said Duke Law Professor James Boyle, a leading expert in intellectual property law. “Duke University has an extraordinary collection of scholars working in the fields of information economics, intellectual property, Internet policy and so on — but all too often they don't know of each other's existence.”

The Sept. 19 inaugural lecture, which Boyle will deliver, will be titled, “ ‘We Don't Provide That Service’: the Economic Irrationality of Copyright Rules on the Internet.” The lecture will begin at 4 p.m. in Room 3043 of the Law School. Boyle will discuss Creative Commons (, a digital non-profit organization he helped found. Creative Commons is devoted to expanding the range of creative work available for others to share and build upon through the use of innovative licenses that can be read by machines, lawyers and non-lawyers.

This lecture, open to all, will be followed by a reception on the 3rd floor loggia. It is sponsored by Duke's Center for the Study of the Public Domain. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Eileen Wojciechowski at For more information about the lecture series, contact Jennifer Jenkins at