Owning Culture demonstrates how intellectual property law has expanded to allow for private ownership of a remarkable array of things, from the patenting of human genes linked to breast cancer to the trademarking of the phrases «home style» and «freedom of ownership.» This book examines diverse areas of contemporary life affected by intellectual property law, including sampling practices in hip-hop music, the appropriation of Third World indigenous knowledge about the medical uses of plants, the effects of seed patenting on farming, and the impact of copyright law on folk music-making. By placing under scrutiny the individualistic, Western conception of the «author» that grounds intellectual property law, Kembrew McLeod shows how borrowing practices have been – and continue to be – central to cultural production. Additionally, this book highlights how intellectual property law facilitates the privatization of culture and the transfer of power into the hands of wealthy individuals and corporations. Clearly written, thoughtful, and thought provoking,
Owning Culture provides an innovative approach to the study of culture and law.