Review: Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property

I reviewed the book, Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property from Zone Books/MIT Press (2010). It appears here in the Teachers College Record. The review is below:

Access to Knowledge in the Age on Intellectual Property is a collection of over 30 essays by an international body of scholars, lawyers, and activists, detailing the “access to knowledge” movement, or “A2K” for short. A2K is an emerging movement most succinctly described as a reaction to the global expansion of intellectual property law. Adherents to the movement detail the deleterious effects such expansion has had individual ability to access information and build knowledge, especially in the developing world. Such expansion is not only a problem for education, but also for human health. Because many medications are protected by intellectual property law, such as those for treating HIV/AIDS, access to those medicines has become prohibitively expensive for much of the developing world. It is not the cost of manufacturing the drug, but rather the idea of the drug (owned largely by western pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer, Bristol-Meyer Squibb, among others) where most of the cost lies.

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