Intellectual property tends to be taught by and to lawyers which is a shame since they tend to focus on addressing the questions of how the law works. This handyman approach is necessary since most of the students are going to go out an apply the law – the idea is that they do not really need to understand the law beyond its application. We do not educate law students we simply fill them with facts.
So when law courses are taught outside the auspices of the law department it’s time to sit up and listen.
The course Intellectual Property and Digital Information: Law, Politics, and Culture is being offered by the section for ABM (Archive, Library, Information and Museum Science) of the Department of Cultural Sciences. Here is part of the course description:
The course is intended to deal with these issues from a number of different perspectives, specifically considering cultural, political, legal, but also economical aspects, including those relevant outside a Western context. It will provide an overview of the legal situation in a national, European, and international setting and also look at some hotly debated disputes and international agreements. We will gain an understanding of the various forms of intellectual property (copyright, patent, trademark, etc.) as well as concern ourselves with alternative concepts including the creative commons, open access, open source, and also file-sharing and piracy, and anchor them in a cultural and political context.
See what I mean? Lawyers would hardly be interested in the wider perspective in this manner. I wonder if I should apply to the course…