Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property by Gaëlle Krikorian, Amy Kapczynski

By Gaëlle Krikorian, Amy Kapczynski

On the finish of the 20 th century, highbrow estate rights collided with daily life. Expansive copyright legislation and electronic rights administration applied sciences sought to close down new kinds of copying and remixing made attainable through the web. foreign legislation increasing patent rights threatened the lives of thousands of individuals around the globe residing with HIV/AIDS by way of restricting their entry to reasonable universal medicinal drugs. for many years, governments have tightened the grip of highbrow estate legislations on the bidding of data industries; yet lately, teams have emerged worldwide to problem this wave of enclosure with a brand new counter-politics of "access to knowledge" or "A2K." They comprise software program programmers who took to the streets to defeat software program patents in Europe, AIDS activists who compelled multinational pharmaceutical businesses to allow copies in their medications to be offered in negative nations, subsistence farmers protecting their rights to foodstuff protection or entry to agricultural biotechnology, and school scholars who created a brand new "free culture" flow to safeguard the electronic commons. Access to wisdom within the Age of highbrow Property maps this rising box of activism as a chain of old moments, suggestions, and ideas. It gathers the most vital thinkers and advocates within the box to make the stakes and methods at play during this new area seen and the phrases of highbrow estate legislations intelligible of their political implications around the globe. an artistic Commons version of this paintings can be freely to be had online.

Contributors: Ahmed Abdel Latif, Philippe Aigrain, Jeffrey Atteberry, Yochai Benkler, Yann Moulier Boutaing, Carlos Correa, Laura DeNardis, Sarah Deutsch, Peter Drahos, Hala Essalmawi, Rick Falkvinge, Sean Flynn, Vera Franz, Spring Gombe, Anil Gupta, Ellen 't Hoen, Charles Igwe, Eddan Katz, Kannikar Kijtiwatchakul, Gaëlle Krikorian, Lawrence Liang, Jiraporn Limpananont, James Love, Leena Menghaney, Viviana Munoz, Sisule F. Musungu, HeeSeob Nam, Chan Park, Eloan Pinheiro dos Santos, Achal Prabhala, Onno Purbo, Manon Ress, Caroline Rossini, Susan promote, Sangeeta Shashikant, Roberto Verzola, Jo Walsh

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We can begin by asking what is “public” about the public domain. Is it public like a public park? Like public assistance? Like the public good? Like a public figure? A2K narratives about the public domain treat what is public as synonymous with what is “open to all,” but in two different dimensions: that of permission and that of price. Public-domain material is presented as important to our creative ecology, on the one hand, because one need not ask permission to use it—which is to say, no one has the legal privilege to deny another the ability to use it.

The A2K commons thus cannot be understood simply as a preference for collective over individual governance. Some content must be given to the concept of the collective and its terms of engagement. Like the concept of freedom, the concept of the commons (if it is to lay claim to an ethic that differs substantially from that of intellectual property) must be more substantively defined. As the example of free software discussed above suggests, when A2K advocates invoke the commons, they conjure forth a community that labors cooperatively and that labors under shared norms.

There is a difference, after all, in a competition between the subsistence fisherman and the commercial fishing fleet and between the unknown garage band and the corporately manufactured pop star. There are only so many fish to go around, but there is no limit, theoretically, to the number of songs that can be written. As importantly, according to A2K advocates, garage bands can increasingly compete with studio-driven stars because of the power of digital networks to give creators access to a public and the power of these same networks to lower dramatically the costs of production of informational goods.

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