Against intellectual property

Martin, Brian . Against intellectual property., 1998 In: UNSPECIFIED, (ed.) Information Liberation : Challenging the Corruptions of Information Power. Freedom Press, pp. 29-56. [Book chapter]


Download (142kB) | Preview

English abstract

There is a strong case for opposing intellectual property. Among other things, it often retards innovation and exploits Third World peoples. Most of the usual arguments for intellectual property do not hold up under scrutiny. In particular, the metaphor of the marketplace of ideas provides no justification for ownership of ideas. The alternative to intellectual property is that intellectual products not be owned, as in the case of everyday language. Strategies against intellectual property include civil disobedience, promotion of non-owned information, and fostering of a more cooperative society.

Item type: Book chapter
Keywords: Information liberation. Freedom of information. Corruption of information power. Capitalist usurpation of information. Anarchist critique to capitalism to build a cooperative society.
Subjects: E. Publishing and legal issues. > ED. Intellectual property: author's rights, ownership, copyright, copyleft, open access.
E. Publishing and legal issues. > EE. Intellectual freedom.
E. Publishing and legal issues. > EF. Censorship.
B. Information use and sociology of information
Depositing user: Zapopan Martín Muela-Meza
Date deposited: 03 Feb 2006
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:02


"SEEK" links will first look for possible matches inside E-LIS and query Google Scholar if no results are found.

Dorothy Nelkin, Science as Intellectual Property: Who Controls Research? (New York: Macmillan, 1984).

Richard Dunford, "The suppression of technology as a strategy for controlling resource dependence," Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 32, 1987, pp. 512-525.

Peter Drahos, "Global property rights in information: the story of TRIPS at the GATT," Prometheus, Vol. 13, No. 1, June 1995, pp. 6-19; Surendra J. Patel, "Intellectual property rights in the Uruguay Round: a disaster for the South?" Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 24, No. 18, 6 May 1989, pp. 978-993; Darrell A. Posey and Graham Dutfield, Beyond Intellectual Property: Toward Traditional Rights for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (Ottawa: International Development Research Centre, 1996).

Peter Drahos, "Decentring communication: the dark side of intellectual property," in Tom Campbell and Wojciech Sadurski (eds.), Freedom of Communication (Aldershot: Dartmouth, 1994), pp. 249-279, at p. 274.

Vandana Shiva and Radha Holla-Bhar, "Intellectual piracy and the neem tree," Ecologist, Vol. 23, No. 6, 1993, pp. 223-227.

Victor Papanek, Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change (London: Thames and Hudson, 1985, 2nd edition), p. xi.

George Munster, Secrets of State: A Detailed Assessment of the Book They Banned (Australia: Walsh & Munster, 1982).

Wendy M. Grossman, "alt.scientology.war," Wired, Vol. 3, No. 12, December 1995, pp. 172-177, 248-252.

David D. Kirkpatrick, "Brilliant minds may think alike, but Brilliant lines can cost you," Wall Street Journal, 27 January 1997, p. B1.

Lance Rose, "Technical foul: the NBA double dribbles on intellectual property," Wired, Vol. 5, No. 1, January 1997, p. 96.

Rob Edwards, "Scottish court case could unravel the Web," New Scientist, 16 November 1996, p. 5.

Edwin C. Hettinger, "Justifying intellectual property," Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 18, No. 1, Winter 1989, pp. 31-52, quotes at pp. 39 and 42. See also David Vaver, "Intellectual property today: of myths and paradoxes," Canadian Bar Review, Vol. 69, No. 1, March 1990, pp. 98-128.

Thomas Mandeville, Understanding Novelty: Information, Technological Change, and the Patent System (Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1996).

David Vaver, "Rejuvenating copyright," Canadian Bar Review, Vol. 75, March 1996, pp. 69-80.

James Boyle, Shamans, Software, and Spleens: Law and the Social Construction of the Information Economy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996).

C. Edwin Baker, Human Liberty and Freedom of Speech (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989).

On these points, see respectively Jeffrey Ian Ross (ed.), Controlling State Crime: An Introduction (New York: Garland, 1995); Steve Wright, "The new technologies of political repression: a case for arms control?" Philosophy and Social Action, Vol. 17, Nos. 3-4, July-December 1991, pp. 31-62; Nils Christie, Crime Control as Industry: Towards Gulags, Western Style (London: Routledge, 1994, 2nd edition); Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and other Bribes (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993).

Robert M. Entman, Democracy without Citizens: Media and the Decay of American Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989).

Benjamin Ginsberg, The Captive Public: How Mass Media Promotes State Power (New York: Basic Books, 1986).

Stanley Ingber, "The marketplace of ideas: a legitimizing myth," Duke Law Journal, Vol. 1984, No. 1, February 1984, pp. 1-91.

Laurie Stearns, "Copy wrong: plagiarism, process, property, and the law," California Law Review, Vol. 80, No. 2, March 1992, pp. 513-553.

Thomas Mallon, Stolen Words: Forays into the Origins and Ravages of Plagiarism (New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1989); Ari Posner, "The culture of plagiarism," The New Republic, 18 April 1988, pp. 19-24.

Brian Martin, "Plagiarism: a misplaced emphasis," Journal of Information Ethics, Vol. 3, No. 2, Fall 1994, pp. 36-47.

John Baker, Arguing for Equality (London: Verso, 1987); Morton Deutsch, Distributive Justice: A Social-psychological Perspective (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985); William Ryan, Equality (New York: Pantheon, 1981).

These two strategies are proposed by Peter Drahos, "Thinking strategically about intellectual property rights," paper prepared for the Forum of Parliamentarians on Intellectual Property and the National Working Group on Patent Laws, 1996.

The magazine Third World Resurgence has regular reports on this issue. See for example Martin Khor, "A worldwide fight against biopiracy and patents on life," Third World Resurgence, No. 63, November 1995, pp. 9-11, and the special issues on patenting of life: No. 57, May 1995 and No. 84, August 1997.

GNU's Bulletin, January 1995 (Free Software Foundation, 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston MA 02111-1307, USA; See for the latest description.

Alfie Kohn, The Brighter Side of Human Nature: Altruism and Empathy in Everyday Life (New York: Basic Books, 1990).


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item