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

Review by Matthew R. Higgins

Part Three

The third section consisted of two chapters that bring the reader to the end of Willinsky's timeline and showed how John Locke’s philosophical contributions give rise to the Statute of Anne at the start of the 18th century. Willinsky summarized how John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government (1689) established a new and unprecedented definition of ownership, which Willinsky reframed by organizing Locke’s argument into seven principles.

Given the first chapter’s portrayal of the problems that have developed from the conceptualization of intellectual property in regards to open accessibility, Willinsky's coverage of the Statute of Anne appears in a surprisingly unbiased manner. He acknowledged the attempts that were made to preserve easy methods of access to scholarly materials while highlighting provisions of the statute that led to the creation of a system that resisted the move to open access learning materials.