'I have a patent lawyer on my payroll': Intellect v intellectual property rights- battle over the cultural commons

Intellectual property

  • James Arvanitakis
Keywords: intellectual property rights, commons


Over the last 20-years, markets come to dominate the way 'resources' are managed. The expansion of the market doctrine has at its core the belief that the apporpiate private property rights are the best way to promote innovation and protect freedoms. The scramble over the private property rights is now well entrenched in the intellectual property arena, with countless examples of patents entering areas that once seemed inconceivable. Thi article moves from Bollier's (2002) disucssion of the concept to argue that intellect, rather than being commodity that is promoted by private property rights is rather a commons— specifically a 'cultural commons'. As such, the process of commodification turn intellect into intellectual property—limiting availability. As a commons, if intellect is to be prmoted, it must be open and shared in the public sphere. In contrast to the ongoing commodification of all aspects of life, social movements and academics are begining to rediscover the commons. This rediscovery now takes the battle between the dominant forces of free market fundamentalism and those who oppose them, into the cultural sphere.


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How to Cite
Arvanitakis, J. (2004). ’I have a patent lawyer on my payroll’: Intellect v intellectual property rights- battle over the cultural commons: Intellectual property. Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 10(1), 76-88. https://doi.org/10.24135/pjr.v10i1.780