Elevate Difference

Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property

A2K. Robot or revolution? A2K is a movement dedicated to dissemination of information to increase access to knowledge; hence, the acronym. Encompassing HIV/AIDS activists working for access to antiretroviral therapy in developing countries to college students downloading music for free, A2K is, at its heart, challenging intellectual property rights to enhance to fit our changing world.

Every time a group of people with similar ideas in the same moment come to together to form a “movement,” it seems they forget to record their experiences. Giving multiple perspectives on the history of A2K and the current situation on the ground, in Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property we hear the real story through the voices of academicians and activists. Speaking to the wide scope of A2K, this intensely comprehensive tome of a book runs about 650 pages. It is not subway friendly, nor is it easy to read for more than twenty-minute chunks of time. Everything is dense but readable, and intensely thought provoking. Who knew intellectual property could be interesting?

Conceiving scarcity as a thing of the past persisted throughout the book; good riddance Econ 101. Information commons topple the Left-Right divide. (Perchance creating the space for bipartisanship, so perchance a single piece of legislation could be passed this term.) Th existence of boundless immaterial goods. What a tantalizing future. But could it be real?

The authors not only believe this to be so but they share the stories of this reality as it is progressing in our very real world. Think beyond the old confines of Napster to a place where access to lifesaving medicines is universal simply because they should be. Now that is freedom to knowledge and a future I could believe in.

Written by: Nicole Levitz, March 16th 2011