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Review ?Feminist interpretations of intellectual property?

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Review ?Feminist interpretations of intellectual property? in Chapter 9. Students will respond to the following;o Explain why, according to Halbert, quilting and knitting are traditionally outside the realm of copyright protection.;o Discuss how and why this is changing.;o Explain why crafts like these do not fit inside the copyright paradigm.;o Discuss what values underlie authorship in the traditional literary context;Attachment Preview;FEMINIST INTERPRETATIONS OF.doc;FEMINIST INTERPRETATIONS OF;INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY;DEBORA HALBERT;How might these epistemological frameworks be related to;intellectual property? Two examples help highlight the values;associated with womens creative work and can lead to an alternative;view of the way intellectual property may look from a gendered;perspective. The first example highlights the difference between craft;and industrialized knowledge and illustrates the differences in;knowledge construction Knitting has long been considered a craft;enterprise associated with womens work. Virtually all knitters are;women. There is a long history of sharing patterns among knitters;knitting is often communicated from parent or grandparent to child;and knitting circles were a popular method of doing productive labor;while enjoying the company of other women. Within the past few;years, knitters have noticed changes in the world of knitting. Where;once patterns were published in easy-to-share formats with little;concern for copyright, todays knitting patterns come with strict;prohibitions regarding sharing, copying, and producing knitted;material for commercial purposes.;In other words, copyright has entered the world of knitting;patterns, a world assumed by many involved as a communal source of;knowledge to share. Patterns have been appropriated into the larger;industrialized process of publishing for profit. It is now common to;find regulations on what a pattern might be used for. For example;the pattern may claim that it can be used to knit a sweater for;personal use but cannot be used to knit a sweater to sell. These;patterns also claim that one cannot share the pattern with friends, as;so many patterns in the past were shared. If some commercial pattern;manufacturers have their way, used patterns will not be available for;sale despite the first sale doctrine.;While the knitting circles and community remain primarily female;(public and shared), the ownership of knowledge about patterns has;been appropriated into the dominant mode of productionit has;been privatized. Patterns are sold, not to further the culture of;knitting, but to maximize profit. As a result, much of the old;community of knitting is being replaced with a marketplace of;knitting, where knitters steal patterns if they do not each buy a;pattern individually or if they use it in a way not deemed appropriate;by the copyright owner. A feminine way of producing knowledge;within the realm of craft has been replaced with a way of producing;knowledge that emphasizes abstract originality and authorship in the;production of knowledge, instead of the relations built into culture;and custom.;It is important to note that women (who need not be feminists);may operate in either paradigm and that many of those constructing;these copyrighted patterns are women. Feminists, however, would;argue that the womens way of knowing, illustrated by the tradition of;knitting, should be used as the source for articulating and;understanding a different method of constructing knowledgeone;not contingent upon the abstract individual and original author, but;one centered in relationships of care. After all, the pattern is only;part of the creative process. The individual who does the knitting;makes changes to the design, picks the colors of the yarn, and invests;her unique motivation into the knitting process. The creative act of;knitting transcends the pattern, yet, as copyright invades and;colonizes this space, its users attempt to appropriate for themselves;the claim to original creativity and seek to control the activity well;beyond the construction of a pattern. A feminist epistemology;premised upon the craft mentality provides a standpoint from which;to critique the method of producing (and consuming) knowledge;exemplified by an industrialized and commodified process.;Quilting provides a second example of intellectual property that;developed outside the productive world of abstract authorship and;within the framework of a network of sharing and care, thus;illustrating the theoretical claims made by those endorsing a feminist;epistemology. Given that womens stories are often excluded from;traditional history, contemporary scholars have turned to unique;places to understand the lives of women. For example, one important;source for understanding history, artistic, and cultural production and;the development of what can be called a womens way of creating can;be found in the growing literature on the history of quilting. Quilts;are increasingly read as womens history because the knowledge;sewed into their patterns not only tells stories of the women who;made them, but transformations in quilting also mark changes in the;status of women over time.;Sewing was an essential skill learned at an early age by the majority;of girls and some boys. In the nineteenth century, quilt-making was;just one example of womens work considered essential to the;household, serving very functional purposes. Quilts were not assigned;the status of original given that the primary purpose of quilting was;functional, therefore they could not earn copyright protection. As;the position of women within the household changed during the;nineteenth century, so did the focus on sewing and quilting. Even as;most productive jobs were moving outside the household, the cult of;domesticity prescribed sewing as an essential aspect of womens;work. Integral to the place of women in the home was the;understanding that sewing was the essence of the feminine. Women;like Mary Wollstonecraft were considered immodest bec ause of their;work for womens rights.By contrast, women who sewed were;developing appropriate feminine skills and retained their sense of;place.;Instead of simply providing functional blankets, women now also;quilted more intricate patterns and designs. These designs were;taken from popular magazines and defined as works of leisure for;women. Women who quilted became status symbols for their;husbands because they had the time to spend on quilting instead of;working. As the quilts became less functional, they certainly did not;take any less labor. Instead, the act of quilting was transformed from;a vital function for the household into an activ ity to do in ones spare;time. While remaining essential to civilizing the home, these more;decorative quilts were not seen as works of original authorship.;Unlike early utilitarian quilt production, these more artistic quilts;could be bought as kits, but there is no evidence they were treated as;works of authorship in the same sense as literary works of the same;period. While these artistic quilts may have been displayed in the;common living areas of a house in order to highlight womens;leisure time, they remained domestic objects, not serious works of;art.;Unlike the notion of the romantic author that had emerged to;assert ownership of the written text, the culture of quilting remained;collective and integrated into the everyday lives of women. Women;came together and developed friendships over quilts. Multiple;women would work on a single quilt, thus confounding our modern;understanding of authorship and possibly even joint authorship.;Quilts were made as gifts for families and to commemorate special;occasions. While it is possible to associate many quilts with their;makers, the narrative of authorship of quilts is much less associated;with the individual author than it is for literary texts. Certainly, the;creative work of a quilt is similar to that of any other form of;authorship. The designs reflect originality, and the sophisticated use;of color to create the intended effect is an artistic talent. However;their creation as collective projects, as gifts, and always with the intent;of care, suggests another model for authorship.;Quilts often include stories sewn into their squares, they utilize;important knowledge of textiles and appliqu techniques, and they;have served important political and cultural functions. However;their place as utilitarian objects, and as products of the work of;women, has often meant that most are lost to contemporary history.;Additionally, because quilts were historically created within the;culture of feminine sharing, issues of authorship were not associated;with the abstract notion of author protected by copyright. Certainly;women took great pride in the creation of these quilts, but these;quilts existed within a different paradigm of ownershipone that;attempted to solidify connections between people, not divide people;by property boundaries.;Both quilting and knitting, primarily womens ways of creating;have existed outside copyright law and developed as collective;enterprises, perhaps because the romantic author and the desire for;profit were not central to the process of creation. Examining these;activities provides insight into how a world of creativity outside the;realm of copyright law might exist, at least until the process of;quilting and/or knitting becomes commoditized and appropriated;into a system of commercial production. These noncommercial and;sharing cultures need not be exclusively female. However, because;womens work has historically been discounted as less creative or;innovative, examples of sharing cultures are more likely to be found;Once one stops privileging the abstract and rational and seeks out the;relational in cultural creation and innovation, it is clear that a;paradigm of intellectual property that creates rigid boundaries to;sharing stands in the way of a relational approach to knowledge;creation, one in which care and the work of the heart can play a role.;A feminist critique from this perspective is a quite radical critique of;the boundaries established by intellectual property law, which typically;are boundaries that seek only to divide and control instead of;facilitate exchange.

 

Paper#34067 | Written in 18-Jul-2015

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