You Can’t Own Knowledge: Great Essay(s) in Joi Ito’s Great Book

Cory Doctorow, co-editor of Boing Boing, writes on the ideologically loaded term, “intellectual property” and says You Can’t Own Knowledge:

[…] “intellectual property” is, at root, a dangerous euphemism that leads us to all sorts of faulty reasoning about knowledge. Faulty ideas about knowledge are troublesome at the best of times, but they’re deadly to any country trying to make a transition to a “knowledge economy.”

The other pieces in Japanese activist, entreprenneur and CEO of Creative Commons, Joi Ito’s book are equally engaging and, properly, available online at FreeSouls.

I wonder, however, even if knowledge becomes freely available and abundant in a sort of Locke-ian commons, will we run into issues over who owns and controls access to that knowledge? Computers, mobile phones, ISPs, data plans all cost money–a lot of money.


  1. Reply
    Graeme January 4, 2009

    It’s such a fine line between knowledge and ideas. Knowledge is already free – I know that things fall at 9.81 m/s2, I know that people who solve crimes are interesting, I know that people pay money for adds in magazines. But to be able to USE this knowledge to create a clock using gravity, to write a book about a detective, or to make millions selling adds on the internet, those are good ideas. He needs to allow for people to have and protect their ideas, no?

  2. Reply
    Graeme January 4, 2009

    I also completely agree that access to information is going to be just as important as the information itself. I initially said that knowledge is free because I have internet access, and an education to use it. I can see your point clearly however that without this access, and without the education (or life experiences) required, I wouldn’t know the speed of gravity, or the content of popular novels. An interesting line – how to make the information free, but to allow people to use this information to create, and be protected…

Leave a Reply