ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Imperial Copyrights and Resistance Art

Freedom from Profit: Eschewing Copyright in Resistance Art by Arjun Ghosh,Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study, 2014; pp 97,475.

In the times of neo-liberalism, the protection and deepening of private property rights is propagated as essential to human dignity and freedom, and considered fundamental to accelerate growth and development. Harvey (2005) suggests that this neo-liberal regime has so far only resulted in strengthening the class power of business elites through “regressive redistribution,” that is, by favouring corporate interests above all else and promoting commodity culture to its severest end with legal backing. One such legal mechanism is the intellectual property regime which privileges property-owning elites by transferring intellectual assets from public domains of common use to private ownership, enabling the extraction of exclusive monetary gains. The book under review seeks to unpack this imperialistic nature of copyrights. Another theme of equal import, highlighted in the book, is the mode of resistance in creative arts.

Ghosh scholastically ventures to analyse copyright laws from historical, social, political and economic perspectives and their changing contours informed by the emerging forms of capitalism. This analysis successfully traces the use of copyrights as a primary mechanism to control dissent, reflected in the works of intellectuals seeking to establish nonconformist truths and wisdom. Copyrights continue to be subservient to the monetary interests of the capitalist class—printers, producers, publishers—given their earliest institution by Queen Mary in 1557, when they started extending their arms to engulf knowledge. All this resulted in stifling creativity and eroding creative essence. Ghosh’s analysis extends logically to delineate the creative arts’ indebtedness to society and thus, questions the very basis of intellectual property and copyright.

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Updated On : 24th May, 2017
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