Back to the Future: Authors, Publishers and Ideas in a Copy-Friendly Environment
Maria Chiara Pievatolo
University of Pisa - Department of Political Science
January 30, 2011
Open Scholarly Communities on the Web, Oxford, 2008, Cost Action AA32
How could scholars survive in a copy-friendly environment jeopardizing the established system of scholarly publishing in which scientific publishers seemed to be authors' best friends? A backward itinerary across three German Enlightenment thinkers who took part to the debate on (unauthorized) reprinting shows us ways – usual and unusual - in which culture can flourish in a copy-friendly environment. While Fichte endorsed an intellectual property theory, took the function of publishers for granted and neglected the interests of the public, Kant saw authors as speakers and justified publishers' rights only as long as they work as spokespersons helping writers to reach the public. Eventually Lessing's project was designed to foster authors' autonomy by means of a subscription system that could have worked only on the basis of a free information flow and of direct relationships with and within the public itself. Such a condition can be compared with the situation of ancient auctores, with one difference: while the ancient communities of knowledge were educated minorities, because of the limitations of orality and manuscript media system, we have now the opportunity to take Enlightenment seriously.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: Kant Ficthte, copyright, Luther, commons, authors', right Lessing, internet
Date posted: January 31, 2011 ; Last revised: March 18, 2011
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