LAW 530

IP Without IP: Beyond the Borders of Intellectual Property

Entertainment Law, Intellectual Property, Technology & the Law

This seminar analyzes concepts, practices, and international regulations that produce IP-like effects but are not part of intellectual property law proper. In different ways, they represent attempts to protect things or interests that do not fit the templates of intellectual property law by developing sui generis and often local arrangements to create property-like effects and new forms of credit and attribution. Some of these approaches are more formalized and have received international recognition, while others function more like local customs whose enforcement is typically shame-based. Examples include norm-based forms of authorship and attribution developed by comedians, scientists, magicians, chefs, tap-dancers, and roller derby fans; geographical indicators for culturally local and terroir-specific goods (conceptually related to but formally separate from trademark law); and international agreements like the Convention of Biological Diversity’s Nagoya Protocol for the protection of genetic resources (independently of patents). The seminar concludes by looking at the inverse side of “IP without IP”, that is, uses of IP law that do not produce IP effects. Examples are Free Software, Open Source, Creative Commons and other types of information commons, which are fundamentally rooted in copyright licenses but are aimed at sharing, not controlling. Taken together, these materials expose the students to creative alternatives to intellectual property law.

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