Skepticism about copyright - and about intellectual property in general - is ubiquitous in today's information culture. But while we know a lot about the history of copyright and intellectual property, the development of this skeptical ideology is almost completely mysterious. As a step toward remedying this, I want to argue that one important point of departure was a moment of intellectual and social transformation in the mid-nineteenth century. At that point antagonism to the imperial and ecological uses of the then-dominant discipline of political economy gave rise to a radical critique of that discipline, and the first organized anti-copyright movement emerged from the ferment. My account centers on a long-lost book that laid out these fundamental arguments linking opposition to intellectual property to the fate of civilizations.
Send comments and questions to H-Net
Webstaff. H-Net reproduces announcements that have been submitted to us as a
free service to the academic community. If you are interested in an announcement
listed here, please contact the organizers or patrons directly. Though we strive
to provide accurate information, H-Net cannot accept responsibility for the text of
announcements appearing in this service. (Administration)