Piracy and the Pacific Working Group


Session Title:

  • Working Groups

Presentation Title:

  • Piracy and the Pacific Working Group



  • The abstract notion of intellectual property emerged in Europe during the late medieval period and early Renaissance as artisan guilds protected their members? power by restricting access to the knowledge about technical processes and operations of machines rather than the products.

    Those who made unauthorized copies of books were known as “land-pirates.” Now, anything of value can be copied, and this has resulted in a vast unauthorized trade in ideas, knowledge, creative works, and manufactured objects.

    This working group will explore the many facets of the pirate culture and the increasingly rigid laws regarding intellectual property which has become a pillar of American foreign policy. While most think of the conflict over Chinese products, a significant development is the enforcement of these laws against individuals who are using the Internet to share protected works on P2P networks.

    As in the past, corporations are battling over these issues, with the so-called ‘legacy disseminators’ being threatened by new organizations and new technologies.

    We are looking at more than knock-off watches, handbags, software and DVDs in the market place but also counterfeit drugs, airline parts, the difficulty media producers have in securing permissions for reuse of other material and new IP regimes that contribute to an increased pool of knowledge and content rather than more restrictions.


  • Working Group Members:

    • Steve Cisler, Chair, San Jose, California, USA
    • Julien McArdle, Director & Producer, ‘On Piracy’ Documentary, University of Ottawa, Canada
    • Eduardo Villanueva, Department of Communications, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, Lima, Peru
    • Michael Ward, Hidden Knowledge, Electronic Publishing
    • Paul Whitney, Director Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver, Canada