Monday, 06 July 2009

How Does an Asian Commons Mean?

by Lawrence Liang, Prashant Iyengar and Jiti Nichani of the Alternative Law Forum in Bangalore

A walk through the lexical jungle of intellectual property reveals a range of strange creatures lurking in various nooks and corners. A patent here, a trademark there and copyrights springing threats at trespassers warning them not to stray into the domain of protected property. On the other side of the IP jungle lies the enchanted, albeit mythical commons in which one is allowed the freedom to roam and sample the pleasures of the forests without the risk of legal action. The invocation of these metaphors of jungles may seem self indulgent, but we believe that they serve more than a decorative value, as this monograph seeks to return us inhabitants of the digital commons‐ to the lands and forests, where the twin stories of the making of property and the destruction of the commons begins. We will navigate this journey via history, keeping one foot firmly within the contemporary, so that the past may reveal our present to us in clearer light.

The rest of this essay is available in pdf from the iCommons site.