Comic Review: Bound By Law?

Bound By Law?
By Keith Aoki, James Boyle, and Jennifer Jenkins
Published by Duke Law School, Center for the Study of the Public Domain
ISBN-10: 0974155314

Review by Kris

The law is a confusing thing. And more money that can be made, more laws are created to protect that information. In Bound By Law? we are introduced to documentary filmmaker Akiko. She wants to create a documentary about New York City. But with copyright protections, trademarks, and rights to the public domain can Akiko walk this field full of landmines unscathed?

I will be the first to admit I know very little about the public domain, copyright, and trademark law. Honestly it isn't something that I'm terribly interested in learning a whole lot about, but me being the good citizen that I am (I vote, I stay abreast of the issues, etc.) I figured that I should take a looksie into this comic. It was created by several professors at Duke University to help bring fair use to the forefront. This creative look at something that could be so convoluted brings a relatively important law down from lawyer-speak to layman English. By introducing this topic through a comic not only makes it easy for someone like me, who happens to be a total dunce, but also make

s it accessible for someone in middle school, high school, or of college age. Especially in this day and age of the internet where pointing and clicking, dragging and dropping, and right-click and saving are virtually everyday occurrences.

I must be clear on a couple points though. Even though I found this to be a great and quick overview of laws about the public domain it does get a little dry in spots. But it is about the law so it's bound to boring in a couple spots. Another thing is I don't read much in the way of comic books that have been created by western artists. I read mostly manga so in regards to the art I'm much more familiar, comfortable, and enjoy the manga format. This is definitely a western style. One thing I did enjoy about the art is some of the layouts that the artist created are a collage effect as opposed to being traditional comic art in boxed panels. I must say that even though I have a couple hang-ups I still feel that this is a worthy piece to pick up. By creating a fictional heroine determined to create her documentary and using this character along with the heroes of the public domain, Duke University's Center for the Study of the Public Domain has enlightened one dumb chic and by shining a light on this issue makes it one more thing about which I can carry on a

knowledgeable discussion.