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From Goods to a Good Life

From Goods to a Good Life: Intellectual Property and Global Justice

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    From Goods to a Good Life
    Book Description:

    In this pioneering book Madhavi Sunder calls for a richer understanding of the effects of intellectual property law on social and cultural life. Although most scholarship on intellectual property considers this law as it relates to economics, it is first and foremost a tool for promoting innovative products, from iPods to R2D2. More than incentivizing the production of more goods, intellectual property law fundamentally affects the ability of citizens to live a good life. It governs the abilities of human beings to make and share culture, and to profit from this enterprise in a global Knowledge economy. This book turns to social and cultural theory to more fully explore the deep connections between cultural production and human freedom.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18355-9
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
    (pp. 1-22)

    From barbie to harry potter, the Beatles to Beyoncé, Hollywood to Bollywood, and Viagra to life-saving AIDS medications, intellectual property now dominates our culture and rules our economy and welfare. Our children grow up in a world of copyrighted characters surrounded by trademarked goods. With the advent of the World Trade Organization and its legal obligations, intellectual property also increasingly affects people across the globe, from Brazil to Bangladesh. Yet the full cultural and economic consequences of intellectual property policies are often hidden. We focus instead on the fruits of innovation—more iPods, more bestsellers, more blockbuster drugs—without concern...

  4. CHAPTER ONE Beyond Incentives
    (pp. 23-44)

    More than a quarter-century ago, property scholars interrupted the hegemony of a law and economics discourse focused exclusively on efficiency to introduce broader theories about property and social relations. As the New Jersey Supreme Court declared in 1971 in the historic case ofState v. Shack, “[p]roperty rights serve human values.” Modern property law was to balance plural values beyond efficiency to consider personhood, health, dignity, liberty, equality, and distributive justice.

    In contrast, at the start of the twenty-first centuryintellectual propertyscholarship remains moored to a singular economic account. In the modern day, intellectual property is understood almost exclusively...

  5. CHAPTER TWO Bespoke Culture
    (pp. 45-81)

    A four-year-old girl jumps up from the couch and starts messing around behind the television. Her curious father asks, “What are you doing back there?” The little girl, who was born digital, replies: “I’m looking for the mouse.”¹ Culture in the last century was marked by a mouse named Mickey—a canned product of a powerful media corporation held tightly under lock and key. Culture in this new century is symbolized by a very different mouse. The new mouse isnot a product, but a toolfor participating in the process of making culture oneself.

    This chapter considers a principal...

  6. CHAPTER THREE Fair Culture
    (pp. 82-104)

    As a young child in the South African hinterlands, Solomon Linda spent his nights protecting cattle from lions in the jungle. Later, when he was living in a squalid Johannesburg hostel reserved for black migrant workers, he recalled this time and composed a song called “Mbube,” which means “lion” in Zulu. “Mbube” was sung a cappella, but Linda borrowed the syncopation of contemporaneous American music and added his own haunting falsetto overlay. It was 1939. The song became Africa’s first pop hit.¹

    “Mbube” would cross the Atlantic and be reborn first as “Wimoweh” and later, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” It...

  7. Photo gallery
    (pp. None)
  8. CHAPTER FOUR Everyone’s a Superhero
    (pp. 105-125)

    Going where only men had gone before, Lieutenant Mary Sue took the helm of the USSEnterprise, performing to acclaim and earning the Vulcan Order of Gallantry. This was, of course, fantasy, but doubly so. By 1974, no woman had commanded theEnterprisebridge, according to theofficialStar Trek fantasy. Indeed, it would take another two decades before a woman would command the principal starship in a later Star Trek series. Trekkie Paula Smith, however, was impatient. So she inserted the young Lieutenant Mary Sue into the Star Trek universe, not as a communications officer, nurse, voice of the...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Can Intellectual Property Help the Poor?
    (pp. 126-144)

    In late december 2004, I traveled to India to witness the social ruptures that India’s entry into the modern intellectual property world would likely trigger. The deadline for developing nations to be fully compliant with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS), the preeminent global intellectual property law of the Information Age, was January 1, 2005. From that date on, India would have Western-style intellectual property rights for everything from medicines to seeds. For more than a decade, the developing world had resisted this moment. Since they had been pressured into signing TRIPS during the Uruguay Round of...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Bollywood/Hollywood
    (pp. 145-172)

    In may 1967 the acclaimed Indian director ofThe Apu Trilogy, Satyajit Ray, received a “joyous carillon of a cable”¹ from Hollywood: Columbia Pictures would backThe Alien. Ray would have a free hand. Both Marlon Brando and Steve McQueen were keen to play a leading role. Saul Bass would mastermind the special effects.² And what luck—Peter Sellers was in Hollywood at that very moment, playing an Indian in a comedy, and was anxious to meet Ray for the second time to discuss playing the Indian philanthropist in the film. As Ray later wrote, “With the hum of the...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN An Issue of Life or Death
    (pp. 173-200)

    Thembisa mkhosana has aids. If she lived in the West, this diagnosis would likely not be life-threatening. Advances in antiretroviral treatments today mean that patients who can afford to pay for the treatments can live a healthy, full, and long life with the disease. But Thembisa, a mother of two living in a village on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, will likely die from her illness. While miracle medicines exist, she cannot afford them. She is hardly alone. Few in Africa, where the majority of HIV/AIDS patients in the world live, have the resources to buy the most...

    (pp. 201-206)
  13. NOTES
    (pp. 207-248)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 249-256)