4

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTSAND THE GLOBAL COMMODIFICATIONOF KNOWLEDGE1

4.1 Introduction

A key element of current attempts to commercialise and commodify science is the increasing strength and prevalence of intellectual property rights (IPRs) in standard research practices, both in industry and in academia. For the appropriation of scientific knowledge for private economic gain depends entirely upon legally enforceable property rights, especially in the case of codified knowledge that approximates the characteristics of a ‘public good’, and so is almost impossible to withhold from non-paying customers without the support of the law. With a social goal of maximising knowledge production, however, the cumulative nature of these processes entails ...

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