Political Economies of Copyright, Droit DʼAuteur and the Internet: Convergence or Clash?
16 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2012
Date Written: September 24, 2011
This paper contributes to academic literature on copyright and the Internet by theoretically (a) examining the political economies underlying copyright, droit dʼauteur and copyright, (b) studying copyright policy from an Internet governance perspective and empirically (c) illustrating the theoretical findings with the French graduated response policy. It concludes that although policies on copyright and the Internet are converging, their underlying rationales for encouraging communication and creativity continue to clash. Moreover, differences between rationales and interests within the political economies of copyright and the Internet can also be observed. In particular, there are significant tensions between social and economic rationales and uses of copyright and the Internet. Much of the democratic and societal use of the Internet depends on its open, cooperative, flexible and decentralized nature. However, these very same characteristics are contested for economic or political reasons such as fighting piracy. This paper argues that copyright is used as leverage to advocate more control in Internet governance. Copyright extends much further than the cultural industry, it can serve to control human actions on the Internet. Copyright and the Internet shape how we communicate and create knowledge in society. They facilitate a certain type of communication and creativity. In graduated response, strong copyright wins: closed, controlled protection is chosen over open, widespread distribution of communication and creativity. Graduated response encourages global copyright maximalism and an enclosure of the Internet.
Keywords: Copyright, droit dʼauteur, Internet, France, graduated response, Internet governance, rationale analysis
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