In defense of the cultural commons

In honor of the close of Walker’s inaugural summer of “Open Field” – it’s physical embodiment of a “cultural commons” – renowned “commoner” Lewis Hyde is speaking tonight. Hyde is the author of “Common as Air: Revolution, Art and Ownership.”

Hyde defines the cultural commons as “that vast store of unowned ideas, inventions and works of art that we have inherited from the past and that we continue to create.” As opposed to intellectual property, which belongs to a person or a company, our cultural commons is something we all share, and are all influenced by in different ways.

Hyde argues that our cultural commons suffers from “a kind of public invisibility, a lack of political, economic, and juridical standing” that makes it hard to fully value and protect.

Hyde will talk tonight at 7pm at the Walker Cinema, but if you can’t make it, check out the above excerpt from a talk he gave, in which he uses Bob Dylan to explain the influence of the cultural commons on an individual’s work.

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