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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2023




Marquette University Law School




Today's intellectual property debates, in both law and the larger society, are a bellwether of changing justice needs in the twenty-first century. As the digital age democratizes technological opportunities, it brings intellectual property law into mainstream everyday culture. This generates debates about the relationship between the constitutional interest in "the progress of science and useful arts" and other fundamental values, such as equality, privacy, and distributive justice. These values, which were not explicitly part of intellectual property regimes in prior eras, are especially challenged in today's internet world.

The article (which was presented as the annual Nies Lecture in April 2022 at Marquette Law School) explains how intellectual property law, originally envisioned as a regime to enable markets in intellectual goods, is becoming a framework through which to discuss essential sociopolitical issues. The result is to refigure the substance of "progress" in terms demonstrating the urgent relationship of art and science with social justice today.


Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review, forthcoming

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