PIJIP Research Paper No. 3: Flouting the Elmo Necessity and Denying the Local Roots of Interpretation - "Anthropology's" Quarrel with ACTA and Authoritarian IP Regimes

Throughout September, PIJIP will release a series of Research Papers on ACTA.  The series will be available at http://digitalcommons.wcl.american.edu/research/

Alexander S. Dent
PIJIP Research Paper No. 3
September, 2010

Abstract

This paper uses an anthropological definition of culture to examine the intensification of intellectual property policing, coupled with an expansion of its definition. These are ACTA’s aims. I argue that acts of sharing lie at the root of communication; humans must share in order to learn. Furthermore, symbols change their meaning as they circulate in different cultural contexts. Therefore, in denying the fundamental importance of sharing and local interpretation, ACTA will not only fail spectacularly as a policy document. It will also fuel a “war” on file-sharers, users of generic medicines, and manufacturers, sellers, and buyers of imitative goods and services – in sum, a large portion of the world’s population. This avoidable war will be costly, and it will be detrimental to public interests and global health.

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