IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Koyaanisqatsi in Cyberspace

Listed author(s):
  • Paul A. David

    (Stanford University & The University of Oxford)

Koyaanisqatsi is a Hopi Indian word that translates into English as 'life out of balance,' 'crazy life,' 'life in turmoil,' 'life disintegrating,' all meanings consistent with indicating 'a way of life which calls for another way of living.” While not wishing to suggest either that the international regime of intellectual property rights protection scientific and technical data and information is “crazy” or that it is “in turmoil”, this paper argues that the persisting drift of institutional change towards towards a stronger, more extensive and globally harmonized system of intellectual property protections during the past two decades has dangerously altered the balance between private rights and the public domain in data and information. In this regard we have embarked upon “a way of life which calls for another way of living.” High access charges imposed by holders of monopoly rights in intellectual property have overall consequences for the conduct of science that are particularly damaging to programs of exploratory research which are recognized to be critical for the sustained growth of knowledge-driven economies. Lack of restraint in privatizing the public domain in data and information has effects similar to those of non- cooperative behaviors among researchers in regard to the sharing of access to raw data-steams and information, or the systematic under- provision the documentation and annotation required to create reliably accurate and up-to-date public database resources. Both can significantly degrade the effectiveness of the research system as a whole. The urgency of working towards a restoration of proper balance between private property rights and the public domain in data and information arises from considerations beyond the need to protect the public knowledge commons upon which the vitality of open science depends. Policy-makers who seek to configure the institutional infrastructure to better accommodate emerging commercial opportunities of the information-intensive “new economy” – in the developed and developing countries alike –therefore have a common interest in reducing the impediments to the future commercial exploitation of peer-to-peer networking technologies which are likely to be posed by ever-more stringent enforcement of intellectual property rights.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Development and Comp Systems with number 0502007.

in new window

Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 10 Feb 2005
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0502007
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 32
Contact details of provider: Web page:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0502007. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.