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This Land is Our Land

The Fight to Reclaim the Commons

This Land is Our Land

Duration: 46 min
ISBN: 1-932869-51-4
Date Produced: 2010
Subtitles: English

Filmmaker Info
Study Guide
Press Room
Related Links
Press Reviews
Praise for the Film

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This Land is Our Land
The Fight to Reclaim the Commons

For more than three decades, transnational corporations have been busy buying up what used to be known as the commons -- everything from our forests and our oceans to our broadcast airwaves and our most important intellectual and cultural works. In This Land is Our Land, acclaimed author David Bollier, a leading figure in the global movement to reclaim the commons, bucks the rising tide of anti-government extremism and free market ideology to show how commercial interests are undermining our collective interests. Placing the commons squarely within the American tradition of community engagement and the free exchange of ideas and information, Bollier shows how a bold new international movement steeped in democratic principles is trying to reclaim our common wealth by modeling practical alternatives to the restrictive monopoly powers of corporate elites.

This film was previously titled Silent Theft.

Sections: Intro | The Commons | Enclosing the Commons | The Enclosure of Nature | Enclosing Culture & Knowledge | Reclaiming the Commons

David Bollier

David Bollier is an author, activist, blogger and consultant who has spent the past ten years exploring the commons as a new paradigm of economics, politics and culture. He has pursued this work in collaboration with a variety of international and domestic partners. He speaks widely about the commons, and recently co-founded a new international organization, Commons Strategies, dedicated to developing and promoting commons-based public policies and initiatives. In 2010, Bollier taught a course on the topic as the Croxton Lecturer at Amherst College.

Bollier's latest book, Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own (2009), describes the rise of free software, free culture, and the commons-based movements seeking to advance open business models, open science and open educational resources. His first book on the commons, Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth (2002), is now widely used in colleges around the world. It surveys the many market enclosures of people's shared resources, from public lands and the airwaves to public spaces, plant and animal genes, and knowledge. Brand Name Bullies: The Quest to Own and Control Culture (2005) documents the vast expansion of copyright and trademark law over the past generation.

Bollier has worked with American television writer/producer Norman Lear since 1984, and is Senior Fellow at the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication. He is also Co-founder and board member of Public Knowledge, a Washington policy advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the information commons. Bollier lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Visit David Bollier's site at

Filmmaker Info

Directed by Jeremy Earp & Sut Jhally
Written by David Bollier & Jeremy Earp
Produced by Jeremy Earp & Andrew Killoy
Edited by Andrew Killoy
Story Editor: Scott Morris
Associate Producer: Elizabeth Horn & Jason Young
Media Research: Scott Morris
Executive Producer: Sut Jhally

Film Festivals

Let's Claim the Commons | Section Z


Kettering University Global Issues Film Festival | 2012/2013
American Sociological Association meeting | Las Vegas | August 20-23, 2011

Press Reviews

Educational Media Reviews Online | April 14, 2011
The Progressive | November 26, 2010
The David Pakman Show | November 11, 2010
P2P Foundation | November 11, 2010
The Valley Advocate | November 4, 2010
Uprising Radio | October 8, 2010

Praise for the Film

"You'll never be the same after watching the mind-opening film This Land is Your Land because you will see the diverse wealth -- the commonwealth -- that you own with other Americans, how it has been seized, despoiled and corporatized. But you all still own these immense public assets and you can regain control of them for now and for posterity. David Bollier has outdone himself once again!"
- Ralph Nader

"A great deal of what we all own we own together -- our world, our air, our water, our oceans, our environment. These and more form what we know as The Commons. No one understands this and conveys it to the rest of us like David Bollier. Your children do not have a greater advocate. I suggest watching this film as a family."
- Norman Lear

"'Enclosure of the commons' sounds like something fairly remote, a thing we have to look up in history books. But the reality is different. The commons are everywhere, so are the attempts to enclose and to control them. That is precisely what this documentary focuses on, without leaving us depressed, because it helps us to understand the great promise of the commons in rebuilding our world."
- Silke Helfrich | Commons Strategy Group

"An important and edifying documentary."
- Charlie Cray | Center for Corporate Policy

"While some works simply bemoan the corporatization of America and its accompanying materialism, This Land is Our Land goes well beyond this on both fronts: it speaks to the whole world (not just the U.S.) and the human condition, and examines how the concept of ownership has permeated virtually all things... This is an exceptionally interesting and mind-bending film that accomplishes just what it sets out to do: stir the audience's outrage toward corporate heavy-handedness, and challenge the audience to rethink the very bases for existence of certain commodities and phenomena. It offers a diverse mixture of business discussion, environmentalism, philosophy, and a good measure of discussion on government deregulation."
- Michael J. Coffta | Business Librarian at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania | Educational Media Reviews Online

"David Bollier is a great advocate and expert on the commons in all their diversity, writing great articles and book. But in our visual age, the availability of a good documentary is an important boost to spreading these important ideas. This documentary contains many great segments, such as the comparison of the successful eradication of polio through public domain vaccines, with the proprietary control of AIDS drugs that has resulted in thousands of needless deaths today. Such stories drive home the point that market enclosures are not just a minor problem; they can be devastating to real human beings. Don't miss this film as an essential part of your education as a commoner."
- Michel Bauwens, Founder of the Foundation for Peer to Peer Alternatives

"We need to reassert our claims to the commons, and we need to restore the concept of the public good. And one excellent way to start is to get hold of an insightful new DVD called This Land Is Our Land: The Fight to Reclaim the Commons.
- Matthew Rothschild | Editor of The Progressive

"This Land is Our Land makes the case for reclaiming The Commons, and awakens audiences to what we are losing as ideas, and even the air we breathe and the water we drink, become the private property of corporations."
- Uprising Radio

"Sets out quite clearly the threats to the public good from the encroachment of commercial interests."
- Art Brodsky | Communications Director of Public Knowledge

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