Trends towards the Privatisation of Intellectual Property: A Marxian progress report for educators and education researchers

Year: 2006

Author: Raduntz, Helen

Type of paper: Refereed paper

For many educators engaged in teaching and/or research issues of copyright have yet to impact substantially on their work, and on the assumption that as long as they and their education institutions conform to copyright regulations the privatisation of intellectual property has little relevance.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and it is as a consciousness raising pedagogical exercise that this paper aims to present a progress report on my research into the privatisation of intellectual property and its implications not only for knowledge workers and educators but also for the wider society.

The paper provides a Marxian account of the historical dynamics operating within capitalism in which the public interest is being sacrificed by huge corporate interests intent on privatising intellectual property for money-making purposes by locking it up behind a wall of property rights, costly licensing arrangements and threats of litigation and trade sanctions for infringements.

However, there is growing opposition to this trend as scientific research suffers and the costs to the public escalate in an economy increasingly dependent on knowledge and information.