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ABRIDGED ABSTRACT: Perfume is a powerful art and technology, but its secrets are closely held by a privileged few - by some counts, there are more astronauts than there are perfumers. As critics have noted increasingly since 2020, those select few perfumers often share similar backgrounds. As interviews with American, British, and French perfumemakers reveal, intellectual property (IP) also plays a gatekeeping role in perfumery. Drawing on work by perfumer and educator Saskia Wilson-Brown, this Article suggests that perfumery is overdue for a transformation. One is emerging: open source perfume. For those seeking ways to share scents and signal commitment to democratizing perfumery, this Article draws on personal experience to pioneer the use of open source hardware certification—which extends the open source ethos into tangible products, broadly called “hardware”—which provides additional infrastructure for forfeiting rights in branding, works, components, and know-how to share scents that are made to be sampled. Together, these interventions can fuel fragrances that are free: free to make, free to sample, and free from gatekeeping. Open perfume ought to be the next free culture frontier, and this Article helps chart a course toward its expansion.

Publication Citation

Cardozo Law Review, Forthcoming.