The Cultural Life of Intellectual Properties: Authorship, Appropriation, and the Law

Duke University Press
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Logos, trademarks, national insignia, brand names, celebrity images, design patents, and advertising texts are vibrant signs in a consumer culture governed by a regime of intellectual property laws. In The Cultural Life of Intellectual Properties, professor of law and cultural anthropologist Rosemary J. Coombe brings an illuminating ethnographic approach to an analysis of authorship and the role law plays in shaping the various meanings that animate these protected properties in the public sphere.
Although such artifacts are ubiquitous in contemporary culture, little attention has been paid to the impact of intellectual property law in everyday life or to how ownership of specific intellectual properties is determined and exercised. Drawing on a wide range of cases, disputes, and local struggles, Coombe examines these issues and dismantles the legal assumption that the meaning and value of a text or image is produced exclusively by an individual author or that authorship has a single point of origin. In the process, she examines controversies that include the service of turbanned Sikhs in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the use of the term Olympic in reference to the proposed gay Olympic Games. Other chapters discuss the appropriation of such celebrity images as the Marx brothers, Judy Garland, Dolly Parton, James Dean, and Luke Skywalker; the conflict over team names such as the Washington Redskins; and the opposition of indigenous peoples to stereotypical Native American insignia proffered by the entertainment industry. Ultimately, she makes a case for redefining the political in commodified cultural environments.
Significant for its insights into the political significance of current intellectual property law, this book also provides new perspectives on debates in cultural anthropology, cultural studies, and political theory. It will therefore interest both a wide scholarly and a general audience.
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About the author

Rosemary J. Coombe is Associate Professor of Law at the University of Toronto.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Duke University Press
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Published on
Sep 22, 1998
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Pages
478
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ISBN
9780822382492
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Language
English
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Genres
Law / Intellectual Property / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The Nature of Sympathy explores, at different levels, the social emotions of fellow-feeling, the sense of identity, love and hatred, and traces their relationship to one another and to the values with which they are associated. Scheler criticizes other writers, from Adam Smith to Freud, who have argued that the sympathetic emotions derive from self-interested feelings or instincts. He reviews the evaluations of love and sympathy current in different historical periods and in different social and religious environments, and concludes by outlining a theory of fellow-feeling as the primary source of our knowledge of one another.

A prolific writer and a stimulating thinker, Max Scheler ranks second only to Husserl as a leading member of the German phenomenological school. Scheler's work lies mostly in the fields of ethics, politics, sociology, and religion. He looked to the emotions, believing them capable, in their own quality, of revealing the nature of the objects, and more especially the values, to which they are in principle directed.

"Scheler's book is in many ways important and great. The questions raised and the method followed are important: modern British thought with its crude use and abuse of the "emotive theory" could do well with a systematic study of the emotions which might show them up as complex intentional structures, and which might rely as much on the phenomenological insights of a Scheler, as on the behaviouristic flair of Gilbert Ryle."--J.N. Findlay, Mind

Max Scheler (1874-1928) was a professor of philosophy and sociology at the University of Cologne and was best known for his work in phenomenology, ethics, and philosophical anthropology.

Peter Heath (1920-2002) was a professor of philosophy at the University of Virginia and was former president of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America.

Werner Stark (1910-1985) was professor of sociology at Fordham University. He is recognized for his work in sociology of religion, social theory, and sociology of knowledge.

Graham McAleer is professor of philosophy and co-chair of the Catholic Social Thought Committee at Loyola College in Maryland.

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