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Intellectual property for the neurocentric age: towards a neuropolitics of IP

Jake Dunagan and Debora Halbert

Keywords: neuropolitics; neuroscience; copyright; futures; intellectual property; brain science; creativity

In this article we seek to expand the conversation about the possible new relationships and dilemmas that arise at the nexus between neuroscience, creativity, authorship and intellectual property. This article does not use traditional legal argumentation to understand the future of intellectual property, but rather deploys a scenario-based interrogation of possible future trajectories, a method derived from the discipline of futures studies. Instead, we draw upon a mix of social, legal, political, and technological trends to generate different alternative possibilities. Taken together, emerging insights from the brain sciences and the shifting dynamics of IP law point to a need for a new analytical framework – a neuropolitics of IP law. We ultimately conclude that without a fundamental transformation in how we understand intellectual property and its ownership, the mechanisms in place for expanding corporate control of IP at the expense of the individual should be of serious concern.

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