Wednesday, December 3, 2008

James Boyle's "The Public Domain"

James Boyle is William Neal Reynolds Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law, and co-founder of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind, and reported the following:
I don't think page 99 [inset, below right] proves Ford's assertion.

I'd prefer page the first page of the preface. It reads:

Each person has a different breaking point. For one of my students it was United States Patent number 6,004,596 for a “Sealed Crustless Sandwich.” In the curiously mangled form of English that patent law produces, it was described this way:

A sealed crustless sandwich for providing a convenient sandwich without an outer crust which can be stored for long periods of time without a central filling from leaking outwardly. The sandwich includes a lower bread portion, an upper bread portion, an upper filling and a lower filling between the lower and upper bread portions, a center filling sealed between the upper and lower fillings, and a crimped edge along an outer perimeter of the bread portions for sealing the fillings there between. The upper and lower fillings are preferably comprised of peanut butter and the center filling is comprised of at least jelly. The center filling is prevented from radiating outwardly into and through the bread portions from the surrounding peanut butter.1

“But why does this upset you?” I asked; “you’ve seen much worse than this.” And he had. There are patents on human genes, on auctions, on algorithms.2 The U.S. Olympic Committee has an
Visit James Boyle's faculty webpage, and learn more about The Public Domain at the Yale University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue