Public domain and the new world order in knowledge

Frow, John A. (2000) Public domain and the new world order in knowledge. Social Semiotics, 10 2: 173-186. doi:10.1080/10350330050009416

Author Frow, John A.
Title Public domain and the new world order in knowledge
Journal name Social Semiotics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1035-0330
Publication date 2000-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/10350330050009416
Volume 10
Issue 2
Start page 173
End page 186
Total pages 14
Editor David Birch
Place of publication Basingstoke, U.K.
Publisher Carfax
Collection year 2000
Language eng
Subject C1
420399 Cultural Studies not elsewhere classified
780107 Studies in human society
Formatted abstract
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the World Intellectual Property Organization negotiations in 1997 and, currently, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment are the legal instruments for the globalization and deregulation of international trade. My paper focuses on some of their implications for the free circulation of knowledge. For, if the rhetoric of globalization is all about the freeing-up of access to and the removal of regulatory controls from formerly restrictive and protected industries, one of the effects of these new legal regimes has, nevertheless, been to institute increasingly severe restrictions on cultural flows. Common to all of them is the fact that they define knowledge as property, and then seek to map out an appropriate regime of property rights. The restriction of illegal copying of software and of audio- and video-recordings, and the enforcement of patents on biological, agro-chemical and pharmaceutical patents are the leading edge of this new wave of incursions into the public domain that is supposedly protected by intellectual property law; with the extension of patent law to previously exempt areas, with strong moves towards the protection of facts in databases, and with the erosion of fair use exemptions, the very notion of a public domain of knowledge from which writers, artists, scientists and scholars can draw is seriously threatened.
© 2000 Taylor & Francis Ltd
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Languages and Cultures Publications
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Created: Tue, 10 Jun 2008, 12:38:25 EST