erty, authorship, the production of knowledge, and our identities as citizens. How new technologies will be protected and defined in an information age has much larger implications than who will benefit. How
boundaries in intangible property are defined, how we are defined as
citizens, what is defined as ethical and unethical behavior, and the extent
to which we wish to see our ideas and minds commodified stand in the
balance of this debate.
There has never been universal consensus about the extent of intellectual property protection, despite government and business attempts to
tightly control it. However, the tension between ownership of information and freedom of information is intensifying as information becomes
commodified and the object of an international economy. The rhetoric
about individual ownership is heated as new technology makes it easy
to copy information and freely share it. This is a contest that transcends
a boring recounting of the history of copyright. This contest is about how
we will be defined as citizens, what will be owned, and how we will
produce and exchange knowledge in the future.
A. Branscomb, Who owns information? From privacy to public access ( New
York: Basic Books, 1994).
"Everyday life invents itself by poaching in countless ways on the property
of others". See:
R. Coombe, "Objects of property and subjects of politics: Intellectual property laws and democratic dialogue", Texas Law Review, 69 ( 1991): 1853.
T. M. Horbulyk, "Intellectual property rights and technological innovation
in agriculture", Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 43 ( 1993): 259-270.
Just look on any can of Pepsi with the "uh-huh" slogan and you will see
the TM sign. This means "uh-huh" is now the equivalent of any brand name
and cannot be generically used by other companies.
"Ducking the issue of the little black duck", Honolulu Advertiser, 21 February 1995, p. B1.
J. O'C. Hamilton, "Who told you you could sell my spleen?" Business Week, 23 April 1990, p. 38.
J. Bennet, "Who owns ideas and papers, is issue in company lawsuits", The New York Times, 30 May 1993, p. 1, 27.
"Presley's relatives, however, are not necessarily realizing the profit or
controlling the uses to which the image is put. Prior to his death, Presley had
conveyed the exclusive right to exploit his name and likeness to a corporation
controlled by Colonel Tom Parker, his manager, in exchange for royalties. Factors
Etc., Inc., is an assignee corporation controlled by Parker who is presumably free
to exploit the Presley image in any manner. Once exclusive rights to attributes
of the persona are assigned, they may be utilized without regard for the sentiments and sensibilities of heirs."
R. J. Coombe, "Author/izing the celebrity: Pub-licity rights, postmodern politics, and unauthorized genders"