Access to Knowledge: A Conceptual Genealogy

Author(s): Amy Kapczynski
Year: 2011

Abstract: This is an introduction to an edited volume, Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property (Zone Press, 2010. It's aim is to describe and analyze the conceptual stakes of the new mobilization around A2K. A2K groups contest the terrain of intellectual property law (for example, around issues of access to medicines, free software, farmers' rights to seeds, and free culture) - but what do they have in common? The chapter elaborates on concepts that A2K thinkers use - such as the commons, openness, and access - to challenge the conventional justification for strong intellectual property law. It closes by posing a series of theoretical questions for the movement, like, what is the nature of the freedom that A2K demands?

Keywords: intellectual property, international law, patent, copyright, trademark