Intellectual property is now embedded in our culture, shaping our economies and welfare. Our lives are infused with many IP-protected icons and images. Harry Potter, the songs of Lady Gaga, Star Wars, iPhones and iPods and Apple itself, the software programs of Microsoft, life-saving AIDS medicines and Viagra made by Pfizer are some examples of this cultural infiltration. In effect, “intellectual property laws affect our ability to think, learn, share, sing, dance, tell stories, joke, borrow ideas, inspire and be inspired, reply, critique, and pay homage. In short, intellectual property laws do much more than “incentivize innovation,” as the common perception goes. Intellectual property bears fundamentally on the basic activities that make for a full and joyful life. Furthermore, in a global Knowledge Economy, intellectual property distributes wealth and power and affects global justice” (Madhavi Sunder, From Goods to a Good Life: Intellectual Property and Global Justice, (1st edn, Yale University Press, 2012) 1-2). More specifically, with the arrival of the World Trade Organisation and its rigorous legal obligations, intellectual property also increasingly dominates people’s lives across the world.
Credits to Bartosz Wozniak Photography.