Rules regulating access to knowledge are no longer the exclusive province of lawyers and policymakers and instead command the attention of anthropologists, economists, literary theorists, political scientists, artists, historians, and cultural critics. This burgeoning interdisciplinary interest in “intellectual property” has also expanded beyond the conventional categories of patent, copyright, and trademark to encompass a diverse array of topics ranging from traditional knowledge to international trade. Though recognition of the central role played by “knowledge economies” has increased, there is a special urgency associated with present-day inquiries into where rights to information come from, how they are justified, and the ways in which they are deployed.
Making and Unmaking Intellectual Property, edited by Mario Biagioli, Peter Jaszi, and Martha Woodmansee, presents a range of diverse—and even conflicting—contemporary perspectives on intellectual property rights and the contested sources of authority associated with them. Examining fundamental concepts and challenging conventional narratives—including those centered around authorship, invention, and the public domain—this book provides a rich introduction to an important intersection of law, culture, and material production.