Don't Be a Drag, Just Be a Queen – How Drag Queens Protect Their Intellectual Property Without Law
10 Florida International University Law Review 133 (2014)
48 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2014 Last revised: 21 Jun 2018
Date Written: October 17, 2014
The paper is an empirical study of the way drag queens protect their intellectual property without reverting to formal intellectual property law. It identifies that substituting for the law is a double-layered social norm system devised by the queens in which the creators (the queens) as well as the users of the domain influence its norms and enforcement. The paper outlines the incentives that queens have for creating drag; the unique social structure and the distinctive subject matter of the domain; and the special relationships that the queens have with their audience. It holds, that this structure allows for the creation of a well tailored and functioning social norms system. The paper delineates the reasons why intellectual property law cannot accommodate for the queen's creations; and it presents the norm system the queens developed in order to prevent appropriation. The paper outlines the advantages of the social norms system – a structured, better tailored and flexible ordering regime; as well as possible disadvantages such as lack of IP policy and concerns regarding powerful guilds blocking creativity. The paper also addresses the idea of a creative domain that wishes to challenge law, rather than become a part of it. The paper concludes that the drag domain holds important lessons for the general intellectual property discourse.
Keywords: intellectual property, copyrights, intellectual property's negative spaces, law and society, law and social order
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