David Bollier discusses his book Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of their own.
David Bollier is a Senior Fellow at the Norman Lear Center and Co-founder of Public Knowledge, a new advocacy group dedicated to defending the commons of the Internet, science and culture. Since 1984, he has been a collaborator with television writer/producer Norman Lear on a wide variety of projects. Bollier also works as an independent strategist and journalist specializing in issues of progressive public policy, digital media and democratic culture.
Bollier's recent work has focused on developing a new vocabulary for reclaiming "the commons." The commons refers to the diverse array of publicly owned assets, gift-economies and natural systems that are available to everyone as a civic or human right. Bollier's critique of the commons is set forth in his 2002 book, Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth (Routledge), and in a number of essays and reports. He has developed the notion of the information commons as a new paradigm for understanding the public interest in the digital, networked environment.
Bollier's 2005 book, Brand Name Bullies: The Quest to Own and Control Culture, is a darkly amusing look at how corporations misuse copyright and trademark law to stifle creativity and free speech. Described as "hilarious and appalling" by Publishers Weekly, Brand Name Bullies includes stories about ASCAP's battle with the Girl Scouts, the Chiffon's case against George Harrison, and the Here's Johnny! toilet fiasco.
Bollier consults with a number of nonprofit organizations and foundations, and has served as a rapporteur for the Aspen Institute's Communications and Society Program for many years. He is the author of six books which explore such subjects as social innovation in American business, the civilizing effects of health and safety regulation, and the legal aftermath of the Hartford circus fire of 1944. Educated at Amherst College (B.A.) and Yale Law School (M.S.L.), Bollier lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Journalist and activist David Bollier discusses how the expanding embrace of the viral spiral, which includes the sharing economy, open software and creative commons licenses, is changing the consumer landscape.