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Information Feudalism: Who Owns the Knowledge Economy?

– tekijä: Peter Drahos, John Braithwaite

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
851244,921 (3.86)1
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.… (lisätietoja)
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opening note: I notice, upon re-reading, that most of this review seems negative. That is because there is much more to say about what is wrong with it than what is right, despite the fact that what is right with this text is surely more than 95% of the book. Don't let the scathing critiques of Drahos' opinions deter you from reading it, nor even his less than perfect presentation of facts; the facts themselves are valuable, numerous, and educational. Take note of the fact I gave this book four stars; I definitely recommend it for those interested in the subject.

The book Information Feudalism is primarily an in-depth chronicle and analysis of the development of "intellectual property" policy in the final decades of the twentieth century, in all their gory, coercive details, though it also covers more distant history of copyrights and patents, contrasts with freer times and circumstances when more significant and frequent world-changing innovations were the norm, and other relevant matters. It suffers some compositional flaws, such as sometimes torturous sentence construction; it labors under an organizational style that, if systematic, is substantially opaque with both topic-area and chronological organizational guidance violated rather more often than followed; and its author Peter Drahos (presumably along with his collaborator John Braithwaite) uncritically accepts and repeatedly asserts the popular assumption that copyright, patent, and trademark laws provide important (and even indispensable, necessary) benefits that are only overwhelmed by abuses even as his narrative explanations of the disastrous consequences of such policy are unmitigatedly and unexceptedly negative in all respects.

He cannot, in fact, even manage to describe a single clear connection between "intellectual property" law of any kind and a benefit gained apart from the enrichment of some privileged copyright or patent holder at the far greater expense of others, in some cases millions of people killed by treatable diseases. Every argument made in favor of keeping some diminished or reformed "intellectual property" regime in place while magically preventing the development of information feudalism is rendered utterly toothless by the relentless progression of dire facts recounted for the reader prior to the statements that copyrights and patents are "important". The weakness of such claims becomes comical, or tragic, or tragicomic, by the end of the book -- especially given Drahos' blithe repetitions of the unsupported assumption that "intellectual property" in some form or other is "important" in the midst of his closing offerings of solutions to the problems of the information feudalism regime. Whether the reader believes copyright, patent, and trademark laws are actually necessary to continued advances and public benefits or not, Drahos' assertions to that effect are wholly lacking a sense of the genuine, sprinkled pointlessly amongst the irresistibly depressing coffin nails he drives into the notion that copyrights, patents, and trademarks have actually provided any meaningful benefits. He even manages to undermine his assertions about the effectiveness of his recommended taxation, funding, and compulsory licensing schemes, given that the benefits these policies are evidently meant to provide would actually be the norm in the absence of monopolistic privileges for the management, distribution, and use of knowledge.

Such inadequacies of the text fail to render the book worse than slightly blemished in its overall value, however, for that value is impressive. As a collection of relevant facts drawn from varied sources in the author's and collaborator's exhaustive research, Information Feudalism is a masterpiece, despite its shortcomings in composition and critical analysis. It comes unreservedly recommended for anyone who wishes to learn the true face of international "intellectual property" policy and the manner in which it affects billions of lives to their detriment. ( )
  apotheon | Dec 14, 2020 |
Economic scholars Drahos and Braithwaite painstakingly trace the history of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the international accord that has become a standard for resolving disputes over intellectual property rights, whether over bootleg videocassettes or unlicensed use of patented pharmaceutical processes. As corporations increasingly recognize copyrightable or patentable knowledge as a source of profit, they've exerted political influence to ensure that the financial reins stay within their hands. The authors clearly show how lobbyists from the entertainment industry, for example, use their clout with Washington to exert pressure on foreign markets so the U.S. industry can reap the most from films and compact discs.
 

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Braithwaite, Johnpäätekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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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.

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