Hot off the press (almost) from another of our former ICJS fellows, Jeff Matsuura, is Jefferson vs. the Patent Trolls: A Populist Vision of Intellectual Property Rights (produced in an aesthetically pleasing setting and travel-friendly size by the University of Virginia Press in late 2008). Even if you have no interest in this topic, I’d highly recommend scoring yourself a copy of this book, just because it looks so irresistibly fetching. I’m currently trying to quit admiring it long enough to put it on our new books shelf. Ahem, but the subject matter is very important, too – another hot topic these days that Jefferson, of course, thought of already 200 years ago.
Also along these lines, our IT director brought the following to our attention: The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind, by James Boyle (Yale, 2008). Chapter 2, entitled “Thomas Jefferson Writes a Letter,” discusses Jefferson’s writing on the subject of intellectual property and its relevance today. And, appropriately enough, you can read Boyle’s entire book online, and even add your own comments, as if it were a giant blog entry. Now that’s open-minded!