Some Realism About Copyright Skepticism
55 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2017 Last revised: 31 Oct 2017
Date Written: September 26, 2017
The frame “Beyond IP” is gradually becoming a key term in the political economy of intellectual property. It captures the social costs of legal ordering through intellectual property and offers alternative institutions and regulatory options. “Beyond IP” is not just a frame for mobilization but also a descriptive term that summarizes a growing number of contemporary information and cultural institutions, which rest upon concepts of free content and free access as their building blocks. The purpose of this essay is to question the conventional wisdom of critical copyright scholarship which tends to pair proprietary intellectual property protection with informational capitalism and the commodification of culture. I argue that tensions and dichotomies that we are accustomed to attribute to “IP-centric” regimes are tensions and dichotomies which may appear, or even be stimulated, also by copyright’s negative spaces and certain beyond IP legal regimes. Beyond IP market realms tend to conflict with the values of cultural democracy, informational privacy and creative diversity. This essay offers the first novel critical examination of the political economy of information markets that operate beyond the boundaries of IP. This analysis bears significant normative implications on the desirability of contemporary approaches, which support mobilization towards beyond IP legal regimes.
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