Information Environmentalism
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Information Environmentalism

A Governance Framework for Intellectual Property Rights

Robert Cunningham

Information Environmentalism applies four environmental analytical frameworks – ecology, ‘the commons’, public choice theory, and welfare economics – to the information environment. The book neatly captures the metaphorical relationship between the physical environment and the information environment by alluding to the environmental philosophy of ‘social ecology’ and the emergent informational discourse of ‘cultural environmentalism’.
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Chapter 8: Rational truths, reasonable arguments and rhetorical imagination

Robert Cunningham


Chapter 7 advocated creation and maintenance of ICRs. In doing so considerable effort was spent addressing possible criticisms. This chapter seeks to move beyond ‘straw men’ ICR criticisms by building a positive springboard upon which to think and act. Realising explicit protection of the information commons through ICRs will rely upon a strategic combination of rational truths, reasonable arguments and rhetorical imagination. We will see in this chapter the rational truths plea is founded upon the proposed information ecology discipline advanced in Chapter 6; the reasonable arguments submission correlates with the public trust doctrine as it might apply to the information environment; and the rhetorical imagination aspect of the chapter posits ‘informational national parks’ as one example of an imaginative device. Each criterion is ultimately directed at establishing the foundation for an ICR programme. This programme is couched within the broader construction of an integrated information environmental governance framework. While many ideas presented in this chapter may appear novel we will see that the chapter is actually built upon traditional understandings of the public domain and the public trust. Structurally, the chapter will be presented in three sections in accordance with the chapter title. Within the legal domain and elsewhere rational truths flow from a threshold level of technical expertise. With respect to the physical environment, ecological science along with civil society organisations have made significant contributions in this regard by establishing a body of ‘objective expert knowledge’, which can be relied upon by governments and courts.

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