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Bound by Law: A Comic Book That Will Teach You the Basics of US Copyright Law

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Want to learn the basics of US copyright law without having to spend eons going through imageless websites and backbreaking textbooks? Check out Bound by Law. It’s a comic book that translates abstract and confusing copyright laws into easy to understand “visual metaphors.”

By the time you’re through with the 72-page comic, you’ll know quite a bit about the basics of copyright law, including fair use, infringement, and public domain.


The comic is the creation of James Boyle, a Professor of Law at Duke, a co-founder of the school’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, and one of the founding board members of the Creative Commons.

The main heroine in the story is Akiko, a woman who, while attempting to film a documentary, runs into the messiness that is intellectual property law.

Why do we have copyrights? What’s “fair use”? Bound By Law reaches beyond documentary film to provide a commentary on the most pressing issues facing law, art, property and an increasingly digital world of remixed culture.


Bound by Law was released for free nearly a decade ago under a Creative Commons license. You can read it digitally as images, in a flash book browser, or through a free downloadable PDF. A physical copy can be purchased for about $5 over on Amazon.

Tales from the Public Domain: BOUND BY LAW? [CSPD via SLR Lounge]

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