Intellectual Property

Authored by: John Laudun

The Routledge Companion to Media and Fairy-Tale Cultures

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138946156
eBook ISBN: 9781315670997
Adobe ISBN:


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Many critics of current intellectual property regimes argue that they have unfairly extended the term, and reach, of copyright, even going so far as to deride contemporary copyright law in the U.S. as “Mickey’s law.” Yet copyright is but one form of intellectual property, which also includes trade and service marks as well as patents, and various facets of intellectual property arose out of particular moments in history. Contrary to what might seem to be the case, that ideas of the public domain pre-existed the emergence of copyright and other forms of intellectual property, the two concepts of common knowledge and individual knowledge emerged simultaneously. With that twinning also came the privileging of certain kinds of knowledge, certain forms of expression, and the productivity of certain kinds of individuals. The result of this dynamic was that the collectors of folktales would emerge as the names on the spines of books, and on the transaction lines of checks, while the individuals who had told the stories, many of whom were elderly and a significant proportion of whom were women, would find themselves, quite literally, unnamed.

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