Intellectual Property, the Notion of Authorship and the Figure of the Entrepreneur
In his article about authorship and property rights, Martin Fredriksson points out that both of them emerged in the 18th century and have coalesced, since then, into the contemporary copyright law.
A Blog Article by Izabella Penier.
The Intellectual Property Rights’ regime was developed by law scholars in the 1990s, but even before it became a dogma in the Western world, there were numerous critiques that undermined its validity.
Some critics of the copyright argued that this construction of authorship and ownership is imbued with racial and gendered privileges. Others pointed out that copyright contributes to the individualisation and privatisation of artistic works that disregards the collective aspects of creativity. While the gendered and racialised biases of intellectual property rights are well documented within copyright research, the commodification of ideas and cultural expressions that relies on individualisation of creativity garnered less critical attention.
Martin Fredriksson’s article1 draws on the notion of the entrepreneur as the protagonist of capitalism, i.e., the scholarship of Hardt and Negri, Joseph Schumpeter, Campbell Jones and Anna-Maria Murtola. In his 1942 book, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Schumpeter contends that capitalism develops through a “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, [while] incessantly creating a new one” (Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, 83; c.f., Schumpeter, Change and the Entrepreneur). Capitalism, thus, continuously replaces old technologies, practices and structures with new ones, regardless of how disastrous short-term consequences can be for individuals, societies and existing industries. The entrepreneur is the master of this process of constant death and renewal, acting as “the irrational destroyer of existing combinations of economic orders” (Jones and Spicer, 50).
Fredriksson’s article expands the critique of an author-centred intellectual property by relating the idea of the entrepreneur to the deconstruction of authorship initiated by Foucault and Roland Barthes in the late 1960s. He demonstrates how the concept of the “death of the author,” the cultural and ideological persona that privatises immaterial resources, can help scholars deepen their understanding of the entrepreneur’s role in furthering capitalism.
Written by Izabella Penier
Edited by Pablo Markin
Hardt, Michel. “The Common in Communism.” Rethinking Marxism: A Journal of Economics, Culture and Society, vol. 22, no. 3, 2010, pp. 346-356.
Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri. Commonwealth. Belknap Press, 2009.
Jones, Campbell and Anna-Maria Murtola. “Entrepreneurship and Expropriation.” Organization, vol. 19, no. 5, 2012, pp. 635-655.
Jones, Campbell and André Spicer. Unmasking the Entrepreneur. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2010.
Schumpeter, Joseph, A. Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. Harper & Brothers, 1942.
—. Change and the Entrepreneur. Harvard University Press, 1949.
Featured Image Credits: Intellectual Property Judges Forum, Secheron, Geneva, Canton of Geneva, Switzerland, November 9, 2018 | © Courtesy of World Intellectual Property Organization/Emmanuel Berrod/Flickr.
- Fredriksson, Martin. “Authors, Inventors and Entrepreneurs: Intellectual Property and Actors of Extraction.” Open Cultural Studies 2.1 (2018): 319-329. The Altmetric performance of this article: https://www.altmetric.com/details/doi/10.1515/culture-2018-0029?src=bookmarklet. [↩]