Information Feudalism

Who Owns the Knowledge Economy?

The definitive account of how multinational corporations have seized control of intellectual property rights

“This is a profoundly important account of the unnecessary harm we as a nation are imposing on the developing world. There is no justice or justification for this harm. This book, better than any I have seen, shows why.” —Lawrence Lessig

In a few short years, the battle over intellectual property rights has emerged from obscurity to become front-page news. The continent-hopping, three-year court battle fought by activists to bring cheap versions of desperately needed AIDS drugs to South Africa is but one example of how this seemingly arcane area of international regulation has become a crucial battleground in the twenty-first century and is animating activists the world over.

This powerful book is the definitive history of how the new global intellectual property regime—the rulebook for the knowledge economy—came to be. Drawing on more than five years of research and more than five hundred interviews with key figures—including negotiators for First and Third World countries, leaders of multinational corporations, and public-interest experts, Information Feudalism uncovers the story of how a small coterie of multinational corporations wrote the charter for the global information order.

Information Feudalism is an authoritative history of the demise of the world’s intellectual commons, and a potent call for democratic property rights.

Praise

“An important contribution to the ongoing concerns about colonialism and its effects on the maintenance of access to ideas and to knowledge as a public good.”
College Research & Libraries Journal
“If you want to know the real politics behind the new property rights . . . read this book.”
—Dr. Vandana Shiva, author of Biopiracy and Protect or Plunder
“An excellent and compelling account. . . . A fascinating read for anyone interested in how the rules of the global knowledge economy are set.”
—Oxfam