Ethics, Evolved: An International Perspective on Copying in the Networked Age

21 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2015

See all articles by Aram Sinnreich

Aram Sinnreich

American University School of Communication

Date Written: July 31, 2015


This chapter examines international trends in adoption, attitudes and ethics surrounding "configurable" cultural forms, which blur the lines between traditional notions of production and consumption. In order to understand these trends, I analyze qualitatively and quantitatively the results of a survey fielded in 2014 and 2015 to 1,397 English-speaking adults in 11 different nations in Europe, North America, Africa and the Asia/Pacific region. The survey is substantially similar to earlier ones fielded by the author in 2006 and 2010. The survey combines quantitative, multiple-choice questions regarding the prevalence of configurable cultural practices and attitudes with qualitative, open-ended, questions in which respondents’ write-in responses reflect their ethical beliefs regarding these practices. As I will argue below, configurable culture has emerged as a definitively mainstream global phenomenon in the past five years, and despite global efforts to “harmonize” IP laws, residents of different nations and regions continue to employ a variety of different ethical frameworks – most of which bear very little resemblance to the contours of the law – when evaluating the validity of these emerging cultural behaviors.

Keywords: remix, ethics, digital media, survey, copying

Suggested Citation

Sinnreich, Aram, Ethics, Evolved: An International Perspective on Copying in the Networked Age (July 31, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Aram Sinnreich (Contact Author)

American University School of Communication ( email )

Mary Graydon Center
4400 Massachusetts Av. NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States


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