Tailoring Copyright to Social Production

Theoretical Inquiries in Law, Vol. 12, p. 309, 2011

39 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2010 Last revised: 27 Aug 2011

See all articles by Niva Elkin-Koren

Niva Elkin-Koren

Tel-Aviv University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: August 20, 2010


The prevalence of social production and the increase in User Generated Content (UGC) destabilize some of the fundamental premises of our current copyright law. Copyright law is primarily designed to regulate the relationships of a single owner with other non-owners and is focused on the sovereignty of the author/owner. Social production, by contrast, requires us to articulate a matrix of relationships between the individual, the facilitating platform and the communities and crowds involved in social production. The transition from industrial production to social production transforms the social relations associated with the production of content and therefore requires adjustment of the institutions that design such relations.

This Article closely examines the social dimension of content production and analyzes the consequences for the governance of content in the social web. The Article proceeds as follows: Part I describes social production and analyzes the implications for the stakeholders involved. I focus on three key features of social production which affect why we create, how we create, and what assets are generated by these social processes involving creation. Part II explains why social production might be incompatible with the current copyright regime. In particular, I argue that copyright law mainly defines rights against strangers and fails to provide a framework for managing the rights and interests within a gigantic group of collaborators.

Furthermore, the exclusivity offered by copyright law may undermine social motivation and collaborative production. Finally, in Part III, I outline some of the challenges for legal policy.

Keywords: Social Production, Copyright, Social Media, User-Generated-Content, Social Motivation, Collaboration, Licensing, Private Ordering

JEL Classification: K11, K12

Suggested Citation

Elkin-Koren, Niva, Tailoring Copyright to Social Production (August 20, 2010). Theoretical Inquiries in Law, Vol. 12, p. 309, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1663982

Niva Elkin-Koren (Contact Author)

Tel-Aviv University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Ramat Aviv
Tel Aviv, 6997801

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