Martin Fredriksson

Martin Fredriksson

Senior Research Coordinator

I am associate professor at the Unit for Culture and Society (Tema Q) where I conduct research about the intersections of intellectual property rights, cultural heritage and traditional knowledge in a postcolonial world. 

Intellectual property rights, cultural heritage and traditional knowledge in a postcolonial world

Since I graduated at the Unit for Culture and Society (Tema Q), Linköping University, in 2010 I have worked extensively with issue of copyright and patents, piracy, social movements, cultural heritage and traditional knowledge.

Current Research 

PASSIM

Recently I have been working intensely in the project PASSIM: Passim as Scientific information 1895-2020, funded by the European research Council, and led by professor Eva Hemmungs Wirtén. My contribution to the PASSIM project consists in a study of how digital traditional knowledge databases are used to protect traditional knowledge against misappropriation through patents.

The project particularly focuses on India’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library and how it relates to international modes of documenting patent information and discourses on the protection of indigenous cultural heritage.

Revitalisation and Sustainability

Within the project Revitalisation and Sustainability I am working on how property rights to seeds – so called Plant Variety Protection – interferes with the rights of farmers to save and share seeds, and how this provokes resistance from a wide varied of farmers movements, both locally and globally. These movements are contextualised in relation to the UN Sustainability goals but also in relation to a revitalisation of traditional ecological knowledge. The project is conducted in collaboration with Johanna Dahlin and funded by the research council FORMAS.

The Protection of Classics

In 2021 I am launching a new project, The Protection of Classics: Collective Claims to Cultural Heritage in Copyright Law.

The project applies a critical heritage studies perspective to §51 of the Swedish Copyright Act, known as the ‘protection of classics’, which aims to protect classical works against derogatory interpretations. The cultural heritage sector faces various groups who claim certain works as representative of their cultural identity. The proliferation of such claim makes the protection of classics particularly interesting as an object of study and as a potential as a source of inspiration for new ways to approach collective cultural claims in copyright and cultural heritage management. The project is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and runs until 2023.

Past projects

Dissertation and postdoc projects

My dissertation The Rights of Creativity mapped the Swedish copyright history from the birth of Sweden’s first copyright legislation in the early 19th century to the passing of the current law in 1960. The dissertation moved beyond the borders of legal history and analyzed how the author is constructed in legal and cultural discourses in relation to the history of literature, film, television and other media that partly reflect and partly intersect with the legislative process.

In the following postdoc project Globalization of Copyright and the Ideology of Piracy I studied the political mobilization around issue of copyright, piracy and file sharing. It examined how the Pirate Party, originally protesting against copyright expansionism and defending filesharing, has adapted to changing political challenges and different national context. The study combined textual studies of political programs and websites with interviews with Pirate party members in USA, Europe and Australia. The project was funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and partly conducted at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Camebridge, MA.

Commons and Commodities

Between 2015 and 2018 I conducted a Marie Curie project entitled Commons and Commodities: Knowledge, Natural Resources and the Construction of Property.

The project explored how different kinds of common resources are enclosed and commodified as private property, and how this affects those who used to manage those commons. It consisted of three studies, focusing on the enclosure of the information commons through the expansion of Intellectual property rights; biopiracy and the misappropriation of traditional knowledge through patenting, and cases where mining projects on indigenous land in Scandinavia and Australia have provoked local, national and international resistance. The project was conducted together with Johanna Dahlin and partly undertaken at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University, and at Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam.

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Recent Publications

2020

2019

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Teaching

I am program director for the BA program in Global Studies that Linköping university launches in the fall of 2021. I also teach regularly at the graduate school at the Unit for Culture and Society (Tema Q) where I supervise the PhD students Mattis Karlsson and Johan Larsson Lindahl.

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