Sebastian Haunss, Conflicts in the Knowledge Society The Contentious Politics of Intellectual Property

Author:Axel Metzger
Book review
Sebastian Haunss, Conflicts in the
Knowledge Society The Contentious
Politics of Intellectual Property
Cambridge University Press 2013, ISBN 978-1-107-03642-0
by Axel Metzger, Dr. iur. (Munich and Paris), LL.M. (Harvard), Professor of Law at the Leibniz University of
Hannover, Institute for Legal Informatics, Germany.
© 2014 Axel Metzger
Everybody may disseminate this ar ticle by electroni c means and make it available for downlo ad under the terms and
conditions of the Digita l Peer Publishing Licence (DPPL). A copy of the license text may be obtaine d at http://nbn-resolving.
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Recommended citation: A xel Metzger, Book Review: Sebastian Haunss, Conf licts in the Knowledge Society T he Contentious
Politics of Intellec tual Property, 5 (2014) JIPITEC 152, para1
Book Review
For a long time, intellectual property law could have
been characterized as a secret science practiced by
a handful of highly specialized lawyers. However,
those days of mostly undisturbed discussions within
the epistemic community, as social scientists would
call it today, are past, at least since the 1960s when
economists started to analyze the incentives and
social costs associated with intellectual property
rights. Their research results were neglected by
the (European) intellectual property research
mainstream for a long time, but in the last twenty
years they have been widely recognized and
discussed. Today intellectual property lawyers,
at least those active in academia, are trained
to understand and use arguments and models
developed by economists. But what is still missing
    
is a mindful reception of social science research
   
that is rooted in social science but still bite-sized for
legal scholars is Sebastian Haunss’ monograph on
Haunss starts from the basic assumption that IP
has become more political in the last decades. This
politicization is based on four broad processes: the
growing economic importance of knowledge-based
industries, the growing internationalization of IP
issues, the growing attention towards IP issues by
non-specialists and the trend towards personalize
IP. He sees this politicization of IP as part of a
more fundamental process of social change that
is associated with the knowledge society. The
ongoing change in the social structure of the former
industrial societies alters the overall structures of
meta issues: inclusion/exclusion and the mode of
production of knowledge. After this general part
(chapters 1-3, p. 1-93), which provides the reader
with a very valuable discussion of current theories
of the knowledge society, the author presents four
  
society, namely software patents in Europe (chapter
4), access to medicines (chapter 5), and two shorter
studies on pirate parties and creative commons
(chapter 6). These case studies are again of high
value – especially for readers from law departments.
Haunss’ reports are based on in-depth research on
the actors involved, the creation of their networks
and the frames shared by the actors. This analysis
not only helps the reader to better understand how
the initially dispersed actors have been successful
in aggregating new forms of collective actions. It is
also useful for legal scholars to get a glimpse into the
current methodology used by political scientists. Of
special interest are the illustrations of the different
networks of actors (e.g. on p. 124-126, 168, 172).

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