A Proposal for Legalizing Small-Scale Physical Copyright Piracy: Book Publishing, Video Films and Music in Developing Countries
37 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2013 Last revised: 10 May 2014
Date Written: April 5, 2013
The paper looks at the formative phase of media systems particularly in developing nations. It finds that copyright piracy in those situations serves a purpose not only in providing access to knowledge and creative works to audiences who would otherwise be excluded but also as the original accumulation of media infrastructures, know-how and capital that over time leads to the establishment of original forms of creative expression and legal media industries.
Looking at the examples of the publishing of books by foreign authors in 19th century USA, the emergence of the video film industry in Nigeria and briefly at the popular dance music in northern Brazil it shows the beneficial effects of piracy. From a public policy point of view, the paper then considers the benefits of copyright piracy and its harms, the most severe ones of which are caused by its illegality. In order to balance benefits and harms, it concludes by proposing to legalize small-scale physical copyright piracy in developing nations.
Keywords: piracy, copyright law, informal copyrights, access to knowledge, book publishing in 19th century USA, Nollywood, Tecnobrega
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