Legal Strategies to Profit from Peer Production
J. de Beer, “Legal Strategies to Profit from Peer Production” (2008) 46:1 Canadian Business Law Journal 269-91.
24 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2015
Date Written: 2008
In this article, I analyze legal strategies for profiting from peer-produced content. The term “profit,” as I use it here, is meant broadly to connote both direct and indirect financial returns as well as social, cultural and democratic gains achievable through systems of peer production. Economic considerations are important, of course, but I show how the issues go beyond mere dollars and cents. I address multiple stakeholders’ perspectives and consider implications for both the traditional and sharing economies.
So I begin by exploring legal liabilities associated with peer-produced content. I then examine the safe harbours that exist in many countries’ intellectual property laws. Given legal ambiguities, litigation over these safe harbours is risky for everyone involved. Consequently, I present some of the alternative strategies laid out in cutting-edge business management literature. Most of these strategies involve cooperation between incumbent copyrights holders, innovative entrepreneurs and independent peer producers. I therefore explore some of the nuances of negotiations for permission to exploit both professionally and peer-produced copyright-protected content. I address various sorts of licensing possibilities, including mega-deals between powerhouse players, voluntary collective blanket licences and initiatives like the Creative Commons. In the end, I propose some strategies for better integrating and streamlining safe harbour and licensing systems as well as developing best practices in the public interest.
Keywords: Legal Studies, Peer Production, Intellectual Property Law, Knowledge Management
JEL Classification: K11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation