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Series 2 - 5. Is it better to be a big country or a small one?
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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 17 February 2010

Disputes about piracy are often seen as a product of the internet age, but a new analysis claims a history going back to the advent of print culture in the 15th century. Adrian Johns talks about his new book, Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenburg to Gates. He tells Laurie Taylor how piracy spread the ideals of the Enlightenment and has been the engine of innovation as often as its enemy.

Adrian Johns argues that it exemplifies the struggle to reconcile commerce and creativity, and that the pirates are no longer just producers who stand to make a financial gain, but implicate many citizens who download music or films illegally in the confines of their home. He suggests that these new forms of piracy force a radical reappraisal of the meaning of intellectual property.

Also on the programme, Laurie Taylor explores the morality of obesity. He talks to Helena Webb about her study of the conversations between doctors and patients in an obesity clinic. She explains why obese patients take credit for weight loss but make excuses for weight gain.

  • Helena Webb

    Helena Webb, Research Associate, School of Management, Kings College London University

    Paper I’ve put weight on cos I’ve been inactive, cos I’ve 'ad me knee done’: moral work in an obesity clinic

    Sociology of Health & Illness
    Volume 31 Issue 6, Pages 854 - 871

    Find out more about Moral work in an obesity clinic
  • Adrian Johns

    Adrian Johns, Professor of History; Chair of the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science

    Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates
    Publisher: Chicago University Press
    ISBN-10: 0226401189
    ISBN-13: 978-0226401188

    Find out more about Adrian Johns
  • Isabella Alexander

    Dr Isabella Alexander, The Beechcroft Fellow and Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law at Cambridge University

    Copyright Law and the Public Interest in the Nineteenth Century
    Publisher: Hart Publishing
    ISBN-10: 1841137863
    ISBN-13: 978-1841137865

    Find out more about Isabella Alexander



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    Thinking Allowed

    Laurie Taylor explores the latest research into how society works and discusses current ideas on how…

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