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Center for the Study of the Public Domain Little men

CSPD Comics

Tales from the Public Domain:
BOUND BY LAW?

"Wonderful, funny… clever. I keep a copy in my desk."

-Davis Guggenheim, Oscar-winning director of the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth"

"An indispensable guide for the perplexed…"

-Art Spiegelman, Pulitzer Prize-winning comic book artist

Bound by Law translates law into plain English and abstract ideas into ‘visual metaphors.’ So the comic's heroine, Akiko, brandishes a laser gun as she fends off a cyclopean 'Rights Monster' - all the while learning copyright law basics, including the line between fair use and copyright infringement.” -Brandt Goldstein, The Wall Street Journal online

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A documentary is being filmed. A cell phone rings, playing the “Rocky” theme song. The filmmaker is told she must pay $10,000 to clear the rights to the song. Can this be true? “Eyes on the Prize,” the great civil rights documentary, was pulled from circulation because the filmmakers’ rights to music and footage had expired. What’s going on here? It’s the collision of documentary filmmaking and intellectual property law, and it’s the inspiration for this new comic book. Follow its heroine Akiko as she films her documentary, and navigates the twists and turns of intellectual property. Why do we have copyrights? What’s “fair use”? Bound By Law reaches beyond documentary film to provide a commentary on the most pressing issues facing law, art, property and an increasingly digital world of remixed culture. This book is available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. This license allows you to translate the comic for free - read the Portuguese translation, the French translation, the Italian translation, or the new Brazilian Portuguese translation of the comic!

The production and distribution of this book were made possible by support from the Rockefeller, MacArthur and Ford Foundations. It is a project of Duke's Center for the Study of the Public Domain, which focuses on the delicate balance between intellectual property and the public domain - the realm of material that is free to use without permission or payment.  To read about some of the Center's projects in areas ranging from health policy to music sampling, click here

James Boyle interviewed on NPR about the comic! (File takes a minute to download.)

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