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Youth, Creativity, and Copyright in the Digital Age

20 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2010  

John G. Palfrey Jr.

Harvard Law School

Urs Gasser

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Miriam Simun

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Rosalie Barnes

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Date Written: June 1, 2009

Abstract

New digital networked technologies enable users to participate in the consumption, distribution, and creation of content in ways that are revolutionary for both culture and industry. As a result, “Digital Natives” - young people growing up in the digital world with access to the technologies and the skills to use them in sophisticated ways - are now confronting copyright law on a regular basis. This article presents qualitative research conducted with students age 12-22 that explores youth understanding, attitudes, and discourse on the topic of digital creativity and copyright law. Our findings suggest that young people operate in the digital realm overwhelmingly ignorant of the rights, and to a lesser degree the restrictions, established in copyright law. They often engage in unlawful behavior, such as illegal peer-to-peer music downloading, yet they nevertheless demonstrate an interest in the rights and livelihoods of creators. Building upon our findings of the disconnect between technical, legal, and social norms as pertaining to copyright law, we present the initial stages of the development of an educational intervention that posits students as creators: the Creative Rights copyright curriculum. Educating youth about copyright law is important for empowering young people as actors in society, both in terms of their ability to contribute to cultural knowledge with creative practices and to engage with the laws that govern society.

Keywords: Creativity, Curriculum, Copyright Law, Digital Natives, Youth

Suggested Citation

Palfrey, John G. and Gasser, Urs and Simun, Miriam and Barnes, Rosalie, Youth, Creativity, and Copyright in the Digital Age (June 1, 2009). Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2009-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1552415

John G. Palfrey Jr. (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1545 Massachusetts Avenue
Areeda Hall 511
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Urs Gasser

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/ugasser.html

Miriam Simun

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Rosalie Barnes

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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