Available Soon! Jessica Silbey, Against Progress: Intellectual Property and Fundamental Values in the Internet Age (Stanford University Press) @JSilbey @BU_Law @stanfordpress @LSchulmanpr

Forthcoming–June 7, 2022!

Jessica Silbey, Against Progress: Intellectual Property and Fundamental Values in the Internet Age (Stanford University Press) demonstrates the evolution of niche IP law into a legal and cultural touchstone by examining everyday creators and innovators as they navigate ownership, sharing, and sustainability within the internet ecosystem. Crucially, the book encourages redefining “progress” and the function of intellectual property in terms related to the urgency of art and science to social justice today.

Jessica Silbey is a Professor of Law at the Boston University School of Law and a Yanakakis Faculty Research Scholar. As a reproductive justice lawyer she represented Planned Parenthood for 10 years. She is the author of The Eureka Myth: Creators, Innovators, and Everyday Intellectual Property (2015), which changed the national conversation around creativity and invention. Silbey was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2018 and the director of The Center for Law, Innovation and Creativity (CLIC) at Northeastern University School of Law. In 2021, she was elected to the American Law Institute. Her research and work has been featured in numerous publications including The Times (UK), Smithsonian Magazine and The Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts. Jessica’s complete CV is here.

Advance praise for Professor Silbey’s book

“The rare visionary book that makes the compelling case that intellectual property law is about more than just getting new books, songs, pharmaceuticals, and software, but is also about our most cherished values of equality, distributive justice, and privacy.” – Jeanne C. Fromer, Professor of Law, New York University School of Law, Co-Director, Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy


Against Progress is a satisfying, witty, and altogether magnificent provocation about the ethical limits of owning ideas.” Patricia J. Williams, Northeastern University


“A remarkable work.” —Abraham Drassinower, University of Toronto


“This book anchors IP law in the broader values informing American jurisprudence, offering both doctrinal and empirical evidence for understanding the social significance of creative work.

It opens paths to a new definition of progress in the arts and sciences.-Dan. L Burk, University of California, Irvine



When first written into the Constitution, intellectual property aimed to facilitate “progress of science and the useful arts” by granting rights to authors and inventors. Today, when rapid technological evolution accompanies growing wealth inequality and political and social divisiveness, the constitutional goal of “progress” may pertain to more basic, human values, redirecting IP’s emphasis to the commonweal instead of private interests.