Information Feudalism : Who Owns the Knowledge Economy book cover
1st Edition

Information Feudalism
Who Owns the Knowledge Economy

ISBN 9781853839177
Published July 1, 2002 by Routledge
272 Pages

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Book Description

New intellectual property regimes are entrenching new inequalities. Access to information is fundamental to the exercise of human rights and marketplace competition, but patents are being used to lock up vital educational, software, genetic and other information, creating a global property order dominated by a multinational elite. How did intellectual property rules become part of the World Trade Organization's free trade agreements? How have these rules changed the knowledge game for international business? What are the consequences for the ownership of biotechnology and digital technology, and for all those who have to pay for what was once shared information? Based on extensive interviews with key players, this book tells the story of these profound transformations in information ownership. The authors argue that in the globalized information society, the rich have found new ways to rob the poor, and shows how intellectual property rights can be more democratically defined.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: Why Information Feudalism'? * The Risks * Health-Hell in Africa * Why Sign TRIPS? * Efficiency * Freedom, Democracy and Intellectual Property * Overview. 2 Piracy: Cultural Trespassers * 'A pyrate and a rover on the sea' * Intellectual Property Piracy * A Little Intellectual Property History. 3 The Knowledge Game: Knowledge Profits * Laboratories of Knowledge * Patent Locks on Public Goods * Patent Locksmiths - the Patent Profession * Global Knowledge Cartels * The Knowledge Game * The Changing Knowledge Game. 4 Stealing from the Mind: Messages * Last Rites * The Problems * Pfizer's World of Ideas * Getting on Committees. 5 The Illusion of Sovereignty: Sovereign Poverty * Most wanted * The Caribbean. 6 The Bilaterals: The Trade Defence Initiative * The US Generalized System of Preferences * Section 301 * Designers, Lobbyists and Petitioners * Pinocchio's Nose * The Wolf at the Door. 7 Agendas and Agenda-setters - The Multilateral Game: The GATT * The WIPO Talkshop * Getting Intellectual property on the Trade Agenda: the Quad and the IPC * Punta del Este * 8 Persuasion and Principles Becoming a Community Standing on Principle: the 'Basic Framework' The Coalitionist Sweeping House. 9 At the Negotiating Table: Kick-off and Final Siren * Circles of Consensus * The Joy of Text * The Great Hero * 'DDT' * When the Chips are Down. 10 Biogopolies: Patent Privatization * Patent Addiction * Mother Nature's Software * Patent Engineering * The University-Industrial Knowledge Complex * Hard Core Cartels. 11 Infogopolies: Private Copyright * Software Blues * Hollywood Trade Ballyhoo * 'Mary had a little lamb'. 12 Democratic Property Rights: Good and Bad Property * Democratizing Intellectual Property * The puzzle of TRIPS. 13 Resisting the New Inequality The New Inequality Rethinking Piracy Reforming Patent Office Regultion Deliberation on the Council for TRIPS. 14 On the Importance of the Publicness of Knowledge: Propertyless Creativity * Protecting Private Property, Protecting Public Universities * Global Publics, Public Goods and Knowledge.

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Peter Drahos and John Braithwaite are both professors in the Australian National University, Canberra, and Co-authors of Global Business Regulation.


'A singularly apposite book.' Computer Bulletin 'Well-written, vigorously argued and beautifully clear.' Journal of Public Administration 'A compelling read.' International Journal of Law and Information Technology 'The book provides an overview of how international property rules have been quietly redrawn in the past 20 years. An interesting point for the sector is the call for broader coalitions to be formed to challenge such measures.' Third Sector 'Information Feudalism succeeds where other works with similar goals fail. It presents a factually based analysis of the situation of the existing regime of international protection of ownership that requires serious attention.' International Journal of Law and Information Technology 'A thick, detailed and meticulously-researched narrative on how and why a significant policy change came to be made, including important insights into the perspectives of key actors and bodies. This book is to be warmly welcomed.' Journal of Public Administration