Contextualizing Intellectual Property Rights

Rajshree Chandra

in Knowledge as Property

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780198065579
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080120 | DOI:
Contextualizing Intellectual Property Rights

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This chapter seeks to contextualize intellectual property rights in their historical and social settings. It then examines the peculiar dilemmas that knowledge poses for propertization. How different is this notion of property in immaterial entities like knowledge, from the earlier notion of property in things, resources, and labour? Labour, which becomes the strongest foundational principle for property, like knowledge, is an intangible quantity. The distinction between the two lies in their source. Earlier forms of property, including labour, had a clearly identifiable source, that is, the individual body, and was therefore amenable to characterization as ‘separate’ and individually owned. Knowledge, by contrast, defies such a characterization; it is something that is incremental, contextual, cultural, and clearly not a product of an individual mind alone. The separate and the clearly divisible character of earlier forms of property seem absent here. This comes to have a significant bearing on the justificatory grounds of intellectual property.

Keywords: intellectual property; knowledge; labour; tangibility

Chapter.  7634 words. 

Subjects: Intellectual Property Law

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