“Objects of Property and Subjects of Politics: Intellectual Property Laws and Democratic Dialogue”
“Objects of Property and Subjects of Politics: Intellectual Property Laws and Democratic Dialogue.” Texas Law Review 69: 1853 – 1880.
- Reprinted in Dennis Patterson ed., Postmodernism and Law, a volume in The International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory (Aldershott: Dartmouth, 1993) 275 -302 and in Alan Freeman and Elizabeth Mensch, eds., Essays in Property. Volume II (Aldershott: Dartmouth, 1992) 415 – 442.
- Abbreviated for inclusion in M. La France, G. Myers, and D. Lange, eds., Intellectual Property (West Publishing, 1997).
Abstract: In this article, I address the political dimension of relationship between legal ownership and cultural authority. What we experience as social reality is a constellation of cultural structures that we ourselves construct and transform in ongoing practice. Any consideration of contemporary life must take into account both the production and the consumption of media-disseminated cultural forms. The type of practice I am concerned with is most readily apparent in trademark law, but examples may also be found in the publicity rights and copyright fields. I will momentarily leave aside the question of whether trademark rights give you ownership of a sign or symbol in any and all contexts (authorities say they don’t, but then it is judges who authorize their use). With Pavel Medvedev and Valentin Voloshinov, Bakhtin developed a body of philosophy about the constitutive role of language in human life and the cultural life of democracy, which he saw as quintessentially dialogical. I borrow Bakhtin’s authority here because he transcends and rejects the dichotomy of subjectivity and objectivity by understanding culture as the ongoing activity of transformative meaning-making.
Date Published: 1991
Publisher: Texas Law Review
Publisher Website: https://texaslawreview.org/