Spring 2017

Intellectual Property/Intellectual Piracy

Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary, scholarly and artistic works, designs, symbols, names, and images. But what does it mean to own ideas, music, art, or designs as property? Is it a bellwether of capitalist logic or a vital guardian of individual creation?  And what do we make of current attempts to blur the lines between creation and appropriation such as musical “mash-ups” and mixed media literature in our current moment or in cultural borrowings of the past (such as the recitation of works by “Homer”)?  Are these instances of intellectual property or of piracy? At this moment of digital reproduction and manipulation, crowd sourcing, sharing economies, and on-line collaboration, we will investigate the concept, benefits, and/or damages of intellectual property and intellectual piracy.