Onerous Ownership?

Official Blurb

I'll admit that I wrote this blurb fairly quickly when I realized I'd missed the deadline for writing Tutorial blurbs by about a week. I based it significantly on one I wrote under similar pressure for the previous Tutorial. Nonetheless, it reflects my general perspective on this Tutorial.

In recent years, the concept of owning ideas has moved from an area primarily of interest to a few scholars and lawyers to a central issue in many national and international debates, particularly as it applies to genetics and to computers and the Internet. For example: Can someone own life (or patterns of life)? What rights does the purchaser of a computer program or digital audio file have? Who owns an analysis or synthesis of a native remedy? How does the notion of fair use apply to biological and digital materials? In this Tutorial, we will explore the main forms of Intellectual Property law -- primarily copyright and patent, with some detours into trademark and trade secret -- in the context of a number of current cases and controversies in genetics, computers, and the Internet.

Disclaimer: I usually create these pages on the fly, which means that I rarely proofread them and they may contain bad grammar and incorrect details. It also means that I tend to update them regularly (see the history for more details). Feel free to contact me with any suggestions for changes.

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The source to the document was last modified on Thu Aug 18 10:30:32 2005.
This document may be found at http://www.cs.grinnell.edu/~rebelsky/Courses/Tutorial/2005F/Handouts/blurb.html.

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Copyright © 2005 Samuel A. Rebelsky. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License. To view a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

Samuel A. Rebelsky, rebelsky@grinnell.edu