PASSIMer of the month (Martin)

Academically speaking, I consider myself an interdisciplinary street breed with master’s degrees in comparative literature and art history, a PhD from the Department for Culture and Society at Linköping University, and a subsequent research trajectory that spans from legal history to studies of social movements. I have, however, maintained a consistent focus on IPR. I wrote my dissertation on the cultural history of Swedish copyright law, where I traced the concepts of authorship, creativity and the public interest through a series of copyrights act from 1810 to 1960. Since then, the balance between property rights and public interests have been an underlying theme in my research. I have worked extensively with issues of copyright and media piracy: for three years I travelled the world, interviewing Pirate Party members from North America, Europe and Australia in order to understand the ideology of piracy. It struck me that the conflicts around piracy largely concern whether cultural expressions are to be defined as common resources or private property. In a subsequent project, entitled ‘Commons and Commodities’ (funded by the EU Marie Skldowska Curie Actions under Grant E0633901), I pursued that line of thought and explored conflicts around other types of resources that are in the grey zone between private property and commons. This included controversial mining projects and other forms of extraction of natural resources, but also the appropriation of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge through so called biopiracy.

Questions of indigenous rights and biopiracy have brought patents into the focus of my research and I am now thrilled to delve deeper into the world of patent law within the Passim project. Next stop on my geographic and academic route is India as my contribution to the Passim project will be an analysis of India’s National Intellectual Property Rights Policy from 2016, with special focus on its relation to India’s postcolonial patent history. Read more about this study here.

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PASSIMer of the month (Jose)

Currently, I teach Intellectual property law in the same city where Chaucer based his famous medieval tales. I would like to think that if there is a defining feature of my work is eclecticism. My doctoral dissertation was on the history of copyright in Latin America in the late nineteenth century (PhD 2009). I was supervised and influenced by Fiona Macmillan and the wonderful postgraduate community at Birkbeck College, London. Since then, I have been- and I am still- interested in many (too many!) things: music, evidence, registration, scrabble, toys, bureaucracy, etc. Because of that variety of interests, I tend to avoid or to push the clear textbook boundaries within the discipline. Ironically, my last publication is however an edited collection of the disciplinary type that, nevertheless, tried to raise historical questions about the subject: Landmark Cases in Intellectual Property (Hart, 2017). In a sense, I guess, what really keeps me researching on this area of law is somehow an uncanny curiosity around questions surrounding (the history of) copying, representation, publicness, imitation, technology and bureaucratic routines. Perhaps the phrase that captured many of these anxieties and that I would have loved to have written myself is the following (….and I am copying here!): “the history of intellectual property can be seen as one of the law attempting to contain and restrict the intangible – to capture the phantom” (Sherman and Bently, The Making of Intellectual Property, CUP, 1999, 59).

What does it mean for PASSIM? For someone like me who prefers the blurring over the drawing of distinctions, PASSIM offers a great opportunity to discuss questions of copyright/patents in a group of excellent researchers and scholars. My individual project is not just an obvious attempt to discuss the regime overlap but also an attempt to reflect on the historical changes affecting the discipline in the twentieth century.

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PASSIMer of the month (Eva)

As PI of PASSIM, I’m taking the liberty of opening this new category in the PASSIM blog: a brief presentation of each team member (including then, myself). Currently, I’m Professor of Mediated Culture at Linköping University, Sweden – but I started out in Comparative Literature, defending Global Infatuation—my thesis on Harlequin Enterprises—in 1998. Harlequin was a fascinating topic, and I guess some of the interest I later came to take in intellectual property can be traced back to the branding strategies of the Canadian publisher. But it wasn’t until I came across a speech made by Victor Hugo in 1878 on the need for some sort of international copyright treaty (it materialized as the Berne Convention in 1886) that intellectual property became “my” research field. For almost twenty years now, I’ve been hooked. Some of the focus has shifted, of course. I’ve become less interested in copyright and more interested in patents, research and science – topics I pursued in my latest book Making Marie Curie (Chicago, 2015) and that is now at the center of the PASSIM-project. I’ve never identified myself with a particular discipline, probably because while I have a PhD in Comp Lit, then spent a few years in Library- and Information Science, and now have a professorship in mediated culture (something which basically doesn’t exist as a discipline)…. intellectual property has been the only constant in all of these settings. I’m really looking forward to working with the PASSIM-team and to see what will develop around the project that we have no clue about right now. I remember writing in the ERC-application that “Research projects are not static and predictable units, because if they were they would not be research projects at all.” I’d like to think that I’m an advocate of the peaceful coexistence of structure and serendipity!

What else? There’s a bit more on my website http://www.evahemmungswirten.se but I’m really interested in the political economy of champagne and would love to get a chance to write about champagne as intellectual property. A super-topic, in my mind! Until that day, however, I keep collecting so-called grower champagnes….not a bad way to start future research!

 

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