Picking up on Bronac's comments, there is of course a large literature how
current IP law, patents and trademarks often acts to restrain creative
practice and innovation, even though when IP law started to develop in the
west it was to counter practices which kept inventions secret = and not
disseminated in society
see for instance the history of the first american patent office due to
I append a post from Fatima Lasay from the Korakora list= which points
to a recent open source book
which discusses many of the issues around current IP and how
it restricts rather than encourages innovation and cultural creativity
From: Fatima Lasay <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 02 Mar 2009 01:35:52
To: Korakora.org Mailing List<email@example.com>
Subject: [Kuro] The global IP system and the consequences on artistic
The Intellectual Property Office-Philippines has been very active in their
push towards a culture of "intellectual property" (IP), spreading their
advocacy of IP and of culture and the arts as an important IP asset of the
nation. The IPO-Philippines' National IP Policy Strategy on "Copyright and
Other Creative Industries" also highlighted Intellectual Property Rights
violations as high on the list of concerns of IP stakeholders.
I would like to invite everyone in the creative sectors to reflect on the
advocacy of the IPO-Philippines and such groups as
the Intellectual Property Coalition, and examine carefully what they put
forth as largely unexamined assumptions about "intellectual property."
These assumptions are: (1) the system of IP is "good" in the social,
economic and juridical sense; (2) the system of IP is the only and best way
forward in stimulating creativity and providing economic incentives to
artists; and (3) the system has worked well and continues to work well
through history and all over the world, and must therefore be enforced.
What IPO-Phils and such groups as the Intellectual Property Coalition do
not wish to include in their advocacy is the strong tradition of critical
thinking about copyright, patents and other forms of "intellectual
property". This tradition of critical thinking has shown that the global
"intellectual property" system has a demonstrably negative effect on
creativity and innovation, is against the interests of creators and society
in general, is a threat to free speech, scholarly communication and
scientific method, and a threat to cultural diversity.
A good introduction to critical analyses of the global "intellectual
property" system is the book "The CopySouth Dossier,
Issues in the Economics, politics and ideology of copyright in the global
South." The book is freely available thru the CopySouth website at
I have also included in this email the first section of the book which
discusses how the global IP system espouses privatisation and
monopolisation, and the consequences on artistic expression. You may also
access the first section of the book thru http://korakora.org/node/29
Please do take the time to read the CopySouth Dossier. I believe the book
can help us think more critically about the barrage of "good principles"
associated with the "protection of ideas", and help us understand the
actual implications of an ideology that panders to the "great Filipino
From "The CopySouth Dossier, Issues in the Economics, politics and
ideology of copyright in the global South"
SECTION 1 - The Global Intellectual Property System is Privatising
Humanity's Common Cultural Heritage
Much of the dominant discourse around intellectual property (IP) - whether
legal or sociological - starts from some largely unexamined assumptions.
These are first that both the concept and the system are 'good things'
socially and juridically, second that there is no alternative, and third
that the system has worked well and continues to work well in pretty much
the same way regardless of the specifics of time and place - in other
words, through history and all over the world. There is, however, also a
venerable and well-developed tradition of critical thinking about
intellectual property - especially copyright and patents - which argues
that as a system for rewarding creators it is inefficient, as an economic
mechanism it amounts to a restraint on free trade, and over time it has
increasingly placed more and more control over recorded human knowledge in
fewer and fewer corporate hands. This is the dissident intellectual
tradition from which the Copy/South project has emerged, and it is one that
is increasingly gathering support across the political spectrum.
The Copy/South Project believes that, contrary to the tenor of the dominant
copyright and IP discourse, it can quite easily and convincingly be shown
that the global IP system, and specifically copyright, tends through
privatisation to concentrate control of humanity's common cultural heritage
in the hands of a shrinking number of private owners, and that this
tendency has a demonstrably negative effect on the well-being of the
majority of the world's poor people, most of whom live in the global South.
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