Commenting on my post "when private property isn’t," Starkwoman writes,
I’m left wondering whether or not any of this can be related at all to ‘intellectual property’ rights (or wrongs). When employed by a research firm, it is usually clear that what one creates or discovers while employed by that firm ‘belongs’ to the research firm. But this is never stipulated, before the fact, when employed by a university.
Of late, universities are increasingly ‘taking possession’ of the intellectual property of faculty members, sometimes using, as an excuse, that the faculty member used university resources in developing their ideas. Unlike, for instance, government employees who are often free to leave their work at their workplace, an academic’s ‘workplace’ includes the space that they traverse to and from ‘work’, their living rooms, even their bathrooms, and often happens well outside a 40-hr ‘work week’. The intellectual work of faculty members in Faculties like Computer Science, Engineering, Medicine, can be ‘saleable’, a ‘commodity’, but in the Humanities and Social Sciences the ‘products’ of our intellectual ‘work’ may have little commercial value; however, now even our course lecture notes are deemed the property of the university.
Have I, for decades, been freely giving away my creative ideas to colleagues and students, perspectives that I thought were my intellectual property–and hence mine to give–when in fact I’ve been giving away the university’s property? When did education–as distinct from university degrees that is–become a commodity? It used to be considered a service, like health care. Neither is free any longer, apparently, and both seem to be ‘for sale’.
Thank you for your comment, Starkwoman. I think your examples illustrate why IP is so problematic.
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