Reality exists only in shared perception, and this perception depends on information developed through the process of creating knowledge. Those who have access to knowledge and control its use and dissemination thus control what we perceive: ultimately, our shared reality. As participants in our nation, we not only must understand how those in power control information, how they develop authority to control information, and what effect that control can have on our national culture; we must also actively support interpretations of intellectual property law that ensure egalitarian access to the information that makes up our national character.
This book examines issues surrounding how information is controlled and knowledge is created and explores how that control plays out under our current U. S. intellectual property law. The title, Controlling Voices, provides a map to the book's content; it plays on the word controlling by animating intermittently the adjective form, then the verb form: controlling voices are those that determine how the law is read, but they also control the voices of those who have no power to interpret the law. In its descriptive form, controlling law is that which determines our actions regarding access and information control, but in its verb form, the action of controlling law is wielded only by those with power to do so.
The law affects and is affected by issues of control in several ways: controlling law determines which interpretations of statutory and case law control the outcome of intellectual property cases and influences the legislative process; communities' dominant ideologies determine how they control information transfer and knowledge development; and individuals or groups in powerful positions, regardless of whether their power is economic, political, or traditional, impose their own ideologies in the processes of controlling information and knowledge creation.