A Review of John Willinsky's The Intellectual Properties of Learning: A Prehistory from Saint Jerome to John Locke

Review by Matthew R. Higgins

Chapter One

John Willinsky is well known for his advocacy for open-access academic materials. His declared intenions for this book included demonstrating the major role that the regard for the properties of educational texts have on intellectual property, presenting the contrast that can be made between intellectual property and other types of property, and drawing attention to the the present-day problem of the required use of many, often proprietary, scholarly materials to write and publish one's own scholarly works (p. 6). Willinsky's positionality on the issue is enlightening, as he frames the text not as a defense of open-access scholarship but instead as a prehistory, or an explanation of how the concept of intellectual property has developed.