Martin Fredriksson

Senior Research Coordinator

I am associate professor and Marie Curie fellow at the department for Culture Studies (Tema Q). I am currently studying conflicts that arise when commons are transformed into property, focusing on copyright, traditional knowledge and mining.

Research Profile

I am an associate professor and Marie Curie Fellow at the department of Culture Studies (Tema Q), Linköping University. Over the past ten years I have worked extensively with issue of copyright, piracy, social movements and the construction and deconstruction of property.

My dissertation The Rights of creativity: Swedish Copyright History in a Cultural Context analyzed Swedish copyright history. My postdoc project ’Globalization of Copyright and the Ideology of Piracy’ focused on of the political mobilization around issue of copyright, piracy and file sharing, exemplified through the international spread of the Pirate Party, see examples of related publications in the selected publications listing below.

Currently I am working on a four year project about commons and the construction of property that looks at conflicts that arise when private actors lay claim to resources that some users perceive as common, such as culture, traditional knowledge or land.

Current Research

Commons and Commodities: Knowledge, Natural Resources and the Construction of Property

This project asks if, and how, the commons are rearticulated and enclosed as property. “Commons” refers to a resource shared by a group of people according to particular social norms. It analyses how the processes of enclosure are enacted and countered through legal decisions and public resistance. The project aims to provide new knowledge about how different kinds of common resources are enclosed and commodified as private property, and how this affects those who used to manage those commons.

The project consists of three studies. The first concerns the enclosure of The Information Commons through the expansion of Intellectual property rights. The second concerns how companies patent Traditional Knowledge which has previously been commonly used among indigenous groups, exemplified through EU’s and Australia’s signing of the “The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization”. The third concerns Environmental Commons: how natural resources, generally perceived as common land, are appropriated by corporations. It focuses on local cases where mining projects on indigenous land in Scandinavia and Australia have provoked local, national and international resistance.

The project runs between 2015 and 2018 and is finances by an International Career Grant/Marie Curie Fellowship from the Swedish National Research Council and the EU. It will largely be undertaken at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University, and at Amsterdam School of Cultural Anaysis at the University of Amsterdam.

Blog: Commons and commodities

Past Projects

Globalization of Copyright and the Ideology of Piracy: A Study of Piracy, Copyright and Modernity in the United States, Sweden and Australia

In 2015 I finished a project looking at piracy as a political and ideological movement, manifested in the global spread of the Pirate Party. It examined how this movement, originally protesting against copyright expansionism and defending filesharing, has adapted to changing political challenges and different national context. The study focused on Pirate Parties in USA, Europe and Australia and combined textual studies of political programs and websites with interviews where the involved individual’s personal experiences, values and driving forces were explored. The project ran between 2012 and 2015 and was funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

An Open Source Project for Politics: A Study of Pirate Parties in America

In 2011 and 2012 I spent a year as a visiting scholar at Comparative Media Studies Program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston where I worked on a project about the culture and ideology of copyright resistance. It rested on a series of interviews with representatives of pirate parties in different parts of USA and Canada and constituted a pilot study for the project “Globalization of Copyright and the Ideology of Piracy”. The project was funded by Helge Ax:son Johnson stiftelse, Olle Engqvist stiftelse, Åke Wiberg stiftelse and Lars Hierta stiftelse.

The Rights of Creativity: Swedish Copyright History in a Cultural Context

My dissertation “The Rights of Creativity” was a study of 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. As the title suggests, copyright law was approached as part of a wider cultural context. The dissertation moved beyond the borders of legal history and studied the law in relation to the history of literature, film, television and other media that partly reflect and partly intersect with the legislative process. The study analyzed how the author is constructed in legal and cultural discourses during the 19th and 20th century, showing how the historical legacy has affected the copyright legislation and debates of today.

The book is in Swedish, download it here.

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  • Project leader for the research project ‘Commons and Commodities: Culture, Knowledge and Natural Resources’ funded by the EU and the Swedish research Council’. 
  • Between 2009 and 2015 I was executive editor of the journal Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural research.
  • I have worked continuously with the Advanced Cultural Studies Institute of Sweden (ACSIS).


I occasionally supervise and teach at the program for Culture Society and Media Production, at the program for Media- and Communication Studies, and at the graduate school at the Department for Culture Studies, Linköping University, where I am also co-supervisor for PhD student Mattis Karlsson. 

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Blog: Commons and commodities

Research Activity
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