Copyright and the New Materialism

Intellectual Property and Access to Im/Material Goods, Jessica Lai & Antoinette Maget, eds., 2015

UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2015-69

20 Pages Posted: 30 May 2015 Last revised: 24 Jun 2016

See all articles by Dan L. Burk

Dan L. Burk

University of California, Irvine School of Law

Date Written: May 27, 2015

Abstract

Copyright has long rested upon a series of dualistic doctrinal structures, including the fundamental dichotomy between the immaterial “work” and its fixation in a physical “copy.” This distinction, which was never entirely coherent even in traditional media, has broken down in the face of digital instantiations of creativity. The disconnection between legal doctrine and new media has now resulted in decades of incomprehensible decisions regarding the fixation of works in computer circuitry or the transmission of works across telecommunications media, particularly the Internet. However, during the past several years, an increasing number of scholars in a variety of fields have begun to re-emphasize the centrality of matter in their exploration of the world. New materialism might offer copyright a path out of such unsustainable distinctions, by providing a viewpoint that traverses the artificial opposition of work and copy, recognizing the primacy of matter in the development of creative expression.

Keywords: copyright, materiality, dualism, digital media, First Sale, exhaustion, public goods, intellectual property, Deleuze, assemblage

JEL Classification: H41, H42, O31, O33, O34, L82, L86

Suggested Citation

Burk, Dan L., Copyright and the New Materialism (May 27, 2015). Intellectual Property and Access to Im/Material Goods, Jessica Lai & Antoinette Maget, eds., 2015; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2015-69. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2611166

Dan L. Burk (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

4500 Berkeley Place
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States
949-824-9325 (Phone)

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