Chapter 7: The appropriation of creative work
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Litigation concerning employees’ inventions raises the general question of the appropriation of creative work. Who controls the tangible and intangible assets in which the work is incorporated? How is the monetization associated with these assets shared? This chapter examines more closely the processes of expropriating workers’ know-how beyond the reservation of patent rights benefitting employers, notably by limiting forms of co-ownership. It analyzes the reach of business codification systems and knowledge capitalization in a configuration characterized by greater employee mobility. Studying this process of expropriation is extended to all the creators working at the periphery of businesses, specifically the “micro-workers” on digital platforms but also highly qualified freelance designers in different fields. Extending the analysis highlights different attribution conventions of IPRs and the role played by legal intermediaries in their definition and distribution. The conclusion questions the restructuring of internal labor markets and processes of transmitting know-how between peers.

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