radio spectra

David Koepsell

David R. Koepsell earned his PhD in Philosophy as well as his Law degree from the University of Buffalo where he studied with Barry Smith (ontologist). He has authored numerous articles as well as authored and edited several books, including Searle on the Institutions of Social Reality , co-edited with Laurence Moss, (Oxford UK: Blackwell 2003), Reboot World, (New York: Writer's Club Press 2003) (fiction), and The Ontology of Cyberspace: Law, Philosophy, and the Future of Intellectual Property (Chicago: Open Court 2000) which has been translated into Japanese and Portuguese. He has lectured world-wide on issues ranging from civil rights, philosophy, science, ontology, intellectual property theory, society, and religion. Koepsell has practiced law, worked for Bowstreet, Inc. as an ontologist in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and taught at SUNY Buffalo. He has been appointed as Asst. Prof. of Philosophy at TU Delft beginning in September 2008. He is an associate editor of Free Inquiry magazine. He is the co-founder, with Edward Summer, of Carefully Considered Productions, an educational media not-for-profit corporation.

Major theses

In stark contrast to the work of Michael Heim, who has promoted a neoplatonic dualism in his discussions of cyberspace and virtual reality, Koepsell has argued for a Searlean realism about all expression. Cyberspatial entities are expressions of the same type as any other intentionally produced, man-made object. Koepsell's work uses legal ontology and common sense ontology to examine social objects. In the process, Koepsell criticises the distinction between patentable and copyrightable objects as artificial, and argues for an open source approach to all intellectual property.

Koepsell's research interests focus on the nexus of ethics, law, and science. Specifically, while at Yale as a Visiting Fellow (2006-2007), he investigated ethical questions involved in the practice of bioprospecting and patenting elements of the human genome. His project is entitled “Individual and Collective Rights in Genomic Data.” Koepsell argues that there are two forms of commons, a) fiat and b) natural, otherwise called "commons by choice" and "commons by logical necessity." He has recently argued that DNA, like radio spectra, sunlight, and air, falls into the category "commons by logical necessity" and attempts to own genes by patent are unjust. His book on the subject, entitled Who Owns You, has been accepted for publication by Wiley-Blackwell.


  • Lin, Rita, The Ontology of Cyberspace: Law, Philosophy, and the Future of Intellectual Property, review in The Harvard Journal of Law and Technology Vol. 14, No. 1 (2000)
  • Finnerty, Thomas V. "The Ontology of Cyberspace" review, Journal of High Technology Law (2003)
  • Floridi, Luciano, The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Computing and Information (Blackwell, 2003) p. 165
  • George P. Fletcher and Steve Sheppard, American law in a Global Context (Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 394
  • Open Source Culture syllabus:
  • Morin, Arthur, "The Ontology of Cyberspace" book review, ''Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies" (2002)
  • "Rights to One's own Genes: DNA as a Commons," conference presentation at IEET and IHEU conference, May 12, 2007.

External links

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