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Le Monde diplomatique: Defining The World's Public Property - Who owns knowledge?

Jan 12, 2000, 20:23 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Philippe Quéau)

"Far from being a mere technical adjustment to the "information society", the changes to intellectual property law are a political matter. Using the "multimedia revolution" as an argument, some interest groups have in fact mobilised to get intellectual property law revised, strengthening it in the rights holders' favour...."

"Most innovations and inventions are based on ideas that form part of the common property of humanity. It cannot therefore be right to restrict access to the information and knowledge that make up this common property by making the law too keen to safeguard individual interests...."

"Consider, for example, the ownership of raw data and facts. Everywhere, the state is "pulling out" and having countless public databases managed by subcontractors who then get the rights to exploit that data. Thus, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC, the American stock market watchdog) has been obliged to buy back its own data from a commercial enterprise which now "owns" it."

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