The protection and accumulation of intellectual property rights—like property rights in general—is one of the most important contemporary American values. In his cogent book, The Cultural Production of Intellectual Property Rights, Sean Johnson Andrews shows that the meaning, power, and value of intellectual properties are the consequence of an extended process of cultural production.
Johnson Andrews argues that it is deeper ideological and historical roots which demand that, in the contemporary global, digital economy, all property rights be held sacrosanct and all value must flow back to the legal owner.
Johnson Andrews explains that if we want to rebalance the protection of copyrights and trademarks, we should focus on undermining the reified culture of property that underpins capitalism as a whole. He outlines a framework for analyzing culture; situates intellectual property rights in the history of capitalist property relations; synthesizes key theories of media, politics, and law; and ultimately provides scholars and activists a path to imagining a different future where we prioritize our collective production of value in the commons.