Walled Gardens & the Stationers’ Company 2.0

9 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2013 Last revised: 4 Feb 2013

Date Written: January 21, 2013


Copyright law originated as a law designed to regulate the commerce of printing, not as a law designed to protect the interests of authors. The Statute of Anne changed this by vesting copyright with the author and thereby creating the possibility of pre-publication negotiations. Today that bargain is being broken. In our era of cloud-computing and Web 2.0, non-author intermediaries provide platforms that constitute the tools of authorship, the tools of publicity, and the tools of commercial distribution. Within this new ecosystem, we are seeing a return to the model of the Stationers’ Company, where legal power over authorial production is vested in the hands of the owners of intermediary technologies. The future of digital copyright thus increasingly resembles a return to its early history, as authors play the legal role of vassals beholden to the lords of the platforms where they labor.

Keywords: copyright, platforms, web 2.0, Facebook, Second Life

Suggested Citation

Lastowka, Greg, Walled Gardens & the Stationers’ Company 2.0 (January 21, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2204465 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2204465

Greg Lastowka (Contact Author)

Rutgers School of Law ( email )

Newark, NJ
United States

HOME PAGE: http://lastowka.rutgers.edu

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