Harvesting Intellectual Property: Inspired Beginnings and "Work-Makes-Work," Two Stages in the Creative Processes of Artists and Innovators

By Silbey, Jessica | Notre Dame Law Review, September 2011 | Go to article overview

Harvesting Intellectual Property: Inspired Beginnings and "Work-Makes-Work," Two Stages in the Creative Processes of Artists and Innovators


Silbey, Jessica, Notre Dame Law Review


This Article is part of a larger empirical study based on face-to-face interviews with artists, scientists, engineers, their lawyers, agents, and business partners. The book-length project involves the collecting and analysis of stories from artists, scientists, and engineers about how and why they create and innovate. It also collects stories from their employers, business partners, managers, and lawyers about their role in facilitating the process of creating and innovating. The book's aim is to make sense of the intersection between intellectual property law and creative and innovative activity, specifically to discern how intellectual property intervenes in the careers of the artists and scientists. This Article is an overview of the first two chapters of the book. The first is entitled "Inspired Beginnings" and explains how people describe the embarkation on a life's work in art and science mostly as a function of intrinsic or serendipitous forces. The second chapter is entitled "The Work of Craft: Work Makes Work" and explores the varied ways the interviewees describe their daily work in terms of the pleasure of sitting in a defined space (lab, studio, study) and focusing on the details of a project. This second chapter also discusses how work is described in terms of natural metaphors (e.g., harvesting or fishing) and the possible ramifications of this rhetoric for intellectual property law and policy.

INTRODUCTION
  I. CONTEXT: THE PLACE OF THIS PROJECT
 II. PROJECT DESIGN
III. PROJECT FINDINGS
     A. Inspired Beginnings
        1. Natural Forces and Serendipity
        2. Urgency and Play
     B. The Work of Craft: Work-Makes-Work
        1. Time/Space
        2. Hard Work
        3. Harvesting Tangible Property
 IV. IP's PLACE: IMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
     A. Tentative Implications
     B. Conclusions
APPENDIX A: INTERVIEW DATA SAMPLING
APPENDIX B: DATA ANALYSIS

INTRODUCTION

This Article is part of a larger empirical study based on face-to-face interviews with artists, scientists, engineers, their lawyers, agents and business partners. The book-length project involves the collecting and analysis of stories from artists, scientists and engineers about how and why they create and innovate. It also collects stories from employers, business partners, managers and lawyers about their role in facilitating the process of creating and innovating. The book's aim is to make sense of the intersection between intellectual property law and creative and innovative activity. Specifically, its goal is to unpack the motives behind creative and innovative activity and to discern how intellectual property intervenes in the careers of the artists and scientists.

This Article is an overview of the first two chapters of the book. The first chapter is entitled "Inspired Beginnings" and explains how people describe the embarkation on a life's work in art and science mostly as a function of intrinsic or serendipitous forces. The second chapter is entitled "The Work of Craft: Work Makes Work" and explores the varied ways the interviewees describe their daily work in terms of the pleasure of working in a defined space (a lab, studio, or study) and hewing their project, shaping it. This chapter also discusses how work is described in terms of natural metaphors (harvesting or fishing) and the possible ramifications of this rhetoric for intellectual property law and policy.

Part I of this Article situates this study in the context of other empirical projects that investigate intellectual property law and practice. Part II discusses the project design in more detail. And Part III explores the transcripts, sharing the words and stories of those interviewed for what they say about beginnings and daily work of creation and innovation in the arts and sciences. Specifically, Part III imposes certain structures on the interviews that I see emerging after close attention to language patterns and narrative repetitions within the transcripts themselves. …

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