Document Type

Book Chapter

Book Authors/Editors

Thomas Riis, ed.


Edward Elgar

Publication Date



Standard accounts of IP law describe systems of legal exclusion intended to prompt the production and distribution of intellectual resources, or information and knowledge, by making those things artificially scarce. The argument presented here frames IP law instead as one of several possible institutional responses to the need to coordinate the use of intellectual resources given their natural abundance, and not necessarily useful or effective responses at that. The chapter aims to shift analytic and empirical frameworks from those grounded in law to those grounded in governance, and from IP law in isolation to IP law as part of resource management. Knowledge commons is proposed as a framework for examining and understanding governance of shared knowledge resources. Examples and illustrations are drawn from several domains of information and knowledge governance.