The Commodification of Information (Information Law, 11)
Information and the marketplace are uneasy bedfellows. The dissemination of information via media can have many different and overlapping purposes, including entertainment, art, ideology, and research. It is particularly among groups that need to share information--the academic and scientific communities, for example--that viewing it as something that can be bought and sold is intrusive and even damaging. There are many other reasons why the commodification of information, which continues to move from strength to strength with the expansion of international free trade, must be carefully scrutinized. A conference of specialists--with expertise encompassing the area of law and practice where intellectual property, communications, privacy, free speech, collaborative research, and international trade all intersect--met under the auspices of the University of Haifa Faculty of Law in May 1999. This book presents the penetrating analyses and recommendations that emerged from that conference. As one might expect, a broad spectrum of views is expressed, from commercialism as the liberator of free speech to commodification as de facto censorship. Among the vital topics discussed, the interested reader will find the following: + how market-driven doctrine and rhetoric jeopardize the cultural commons; + market control as copyright's new paradigm; + the free software movement; + how the ECHR may impose limits on EU copyright law, especially property rights in databases; + the conflict between availability of domestic media and international free trade; + tracking and manipulation of personal Internet use; + patenting DNA sequences and DNA molecules; and + how "commercial" speech trumps "free" speech. Several contributors examine the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and its redefinition of such traditional IP concepts as "fair use" and "market failure". The Commodification of Information will prove a landmark work for all those involved with this complex area of knowledge and activity. Software developers, academic and research institutions, corporate counsel, government policymakers and regulators--all these and more will benefit enormously from the thoughtful and incisive discussion presented here.