Adrian Johns F'12
ACLS Fellowship Program 2012
University of Chicago
The Intellectual Property Defense Industry
Intellectual property is the defining element of the information economy. This is the first full study of the industry that has arisen over the last three centuries to uphold it. The industry comprises a variety of companies, agencies, and other institutions, which together seek to protect IP. Having coalesced in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries from previously distinct enterprises in fields like publishing and medicine, it now exercises a massive influence on our experiences of information. Yet public awareness of it is negligible. This project examines its history and practices to reveal how the integrity and authority of information itself are sustained. This new understanding should prove critical to future debates about the intellectual property system and its consequences.