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Constructing Commons in the Cultural Environment
Cornell Law Review (2010)
  • Katherine J. Strandburg, New York University School of Law
  • Michael J. Madison, University of Pittsburgh
  • Brett M. Frischmann, Loyola University Chicago

This Article sets out a framework for investigating sharing and resource pooling arrangements for information and knowledge-based works. We argue that the approach to commons arrangements in the natural environment pioneered by Elinor Ostrom and collaborators provides a template for examining the construction of commons in the cultural environment. The approach promises to lead to a better understanding of how participants in commons and pooling arrangements structure their interactions in relation to the environments in which they are embedded, in relation to information and knowledge resources that they produce and use, and in relation to one another.

An improved understanding of cultural commons is critical for obtaining a more complete perspective on intellectual property doctrine and its interactions with other legal and social mechanisms for governing creativity and innovation. The proposed approach would draw upon case studies from a wide range of disciplines. Among other things, we argue that a theoretical approach to constructed cultural commons should consider rules pertaining to membership criteria, contribution and use of pooled resources, internal licensing conditions, management of external relationships, and institutional forms, along with the degree of collaboration among members, sharing of human capital, degrees of integration among participants, and whether there is a specified purpose to the arrangement.

  • commons,
  • technology,
  • innovation,
  • intellectual property
Publication Date
Citation Information
Katherine J. Strandburg, Michael J. Madison and Brett M. Frischmann. "Constructing Commons in the Cultural Environment" Cornell Law Review (2010)
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