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9 - Cultural Transformations

Naturalizing Intellectual Property

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 June 2021

Laura R. Ford
Affiliation:
Bard College, New York
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Summary

In this chapter, I argue that the formation of intellectual property was enabled by a cultural transformation, involving the embrace of natural legality, a transformation that parallels, in significant respects, the Christianization of imperial Rome. In this cultural transformation, traditions of Roman law were rediscovered as a naturalistic foundation for sociability and national economic life. The commodification of human creativity and inventive discovery, through intellectual property rights, made sense, within the culture of natural legality, as a justified response to natural, but extraordinary, powers of human creativity, and became part of a broader strategy for national empowerment. The combination of Roman law with interpretations of Christian obligation that emphasized natural sociability and legality gave new form to a natural rights tradition, one that providing legitimating foundations for the recognition of intellectual property under principles of English common law. The chapter concludes with a focus on the U.S. constitutional convention of 1787, and the embrace of intellectual property as part of the constitutional framework for a powerful, national state.

Type
Chapter
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The Intellectual Property of Nations
Sociological and Historical Perspectives on a Modern Legal Institution
, pp. 270 - 302
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Cultural Transformations
  • Laura R. Ford, Bard College, New York
  • Book: The Intellectual Property of Nations
  • Online publication: 04 June 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108182935.011
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  • Cultural Transformations
  • Laura R. Ford, Bard College, New York
  • Book: The Intellectual Property of Nations
  • Online publication: 04 June 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108182935.011
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Cultural Transformations
  • Laura R. Ford, Bard College, New York
  • Book: The Intellectual Property of Nations
  • Online publication: 04 June 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108182935.011
Available formats
×