User Generated Law

User Generated Law

Re-Constructing Intellectual Property Law in a Knowledge Society

Edited by Thomas Riis

Engaging and innovative, User Generated Law offers a new perspective on the study of intellectual property law. Shifting research away from the study of statutory law, contributions from leading scholars explore why and how self-regulation of intellectual property rights in a knowledge society emerges and develops. Analysing examples of self-regulation in the intellectual property law based industries, this book evaluates to what extent user generated law is an accurate model for explaining and understanding this process.

Chapter 1: User generated law: re-constructing intellectual property law in a knowledge society

Thomas Riis

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law


The exact elements of what constitutes a ‘knowledge society’ are still disputed. Yet the underlying notion that modern society and not least the modern economy are essentially based on the production and dissemination of knowledge is not contested. The most widely shared understanding deems that a knowledge society is characterized by a high absorptive capacity; by the possession of structures and cultures that facilitate dissemination and sharing of knowledge; and by the inclusion of learning communities which emphasize innovation. A knowledge society’s main tool is information exchange via information and communication technologies. Information is a knowledge-generating tool; it is not knowledge itself. Knowledge relates to the practical use of information and involves a human experience. Our contemporary knowledge society faces the crucial challenges of establishing structures and arrangements that support the creation of legitimate and productive knowledge and ensuring access to knowledge. Legal infrastructure is essential in shaping such structures and arrangements. Technological and economic development have been the major forces in creating a knowledge society (which by nature is a dynamic society) whereas the legal infrastructure which regulates behaviour in this knowledge society has not developed correspondingly. Traditionally, law has been construed as being authoritatively determined by national legislative directives. In cases of uncertainty concerning the contents of these directives, national Supreme Courts have been envisaged as the source of legal certainty. This construction is ill-suited to meeting the needs of a knowledge society.