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Knowledge as PropertyIssues in the Moral Grounding of Intellectual Property Rights$
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Rajshree Chandra

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780198065579

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198065579.001.0001

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Contextualizing Intellectual Property Rights

Contextualizing Intellectual Property Rights

Chapter:
(p.3) 1 Contextualizing Intellectual Property Rights
Source:
Knowledge as Property
Author(s):

Rajshree Chandra

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198065579.003.0001

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

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