Abolitionist Creativity, Care, and the Shadow of Intellectual Property| University of Pittsburgh Law Review
We begin by invoking the legacy of Sojourner Truth who, in addition to her better known contributions, innovated radically with her copyright in the context of slavery abolition in the nineteenth century United States. We show how Truth occupied the legal and economic structure that governs the expression of creativity towards her abolitionist goals. Inspired by her example, we argue that contemporary abolitionists can intervene in the intellectual property system in ways that unshackle creativity from its legal codification as a right to exclude. Reimagining creatorship not as a right to exclude but as a duty to care for each other and our ecological worlds, we offer strategies and examples of abolitionist creativity in two struggles: prison abolition in the United States and transnational solidarity with Palestinian liberation.
Corporations’ wealth is increasingly built on intangible intellectual property rights rather than hard assets. What if we could hack these legal and economic codes that underpin capitalism so that they are based on worker solidarity, ecological sustainability and community wealth building?
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Illustration by Trey Brasher
Patenting psychedelics is the latest controversy in the debate over whether patents should apply to therapeutic methods, let alone knowledge long stewarded by Indigenous Peoples. Can a patent—a valorization of the individual inventor, the mythical creative genius alone at the workbench—properly recognize the collective and cumulative effort behind many innovations in the psychedelics space? What can we learn from the patent system's history of exclusion and reimagine how we use patents?