Authors: Holtgrewe, Ursula
Title: Intellectual Property, Communism and Contextuality
Other Titles: A non-essentialist exploration of German digital copyright and the public domain
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: This paper explores current changes in German copyright legislation in two fields in which the digitalisation of creative works has changed the relationship between commercial and non-profit activities: the music industry and scientific publishing. For years the music industry has been facing a decreasing demand due to Internet distribution and filesharing networks and a lock-in of traditional business models. Scientific work is confronted with a supply crisis of information. The resources of libraries, which traditionally used to mediate commercial and non-profit activities, are dwindling while the role of commercial databases and meta -information systems for academic reputation is gaining importance. These processes are well known, but both the current public debate and theoretical analyses suffer from a certain essentialism: The problem of intellectual property is mostly seen as inherent to the characteristics of knowledge goods and knowledge production. Thus, the arena appears like a zero-sum game to both commercial actors and promoters of the public domain, in which commodified goods are subtracted from the public domain and vice versa. This paper applies a processoriented and interactionist sociological perspective to the shifting relationship of markets and public spheres. Knowledge goods and intellectual property institutions thus are mutually constitutive. In establishing them, situated flows of knowledge and meaning are bracketed institutionally and technologically for a time. However, current changes in copyright legislation tend to privilege commercial exploitation and thus may end up establishing the very zero-sum configuration that so far has been challenged theoretically.
Issue Date: 2005-07
Provenance: Technische Universität <Dortmund>
Appears in Collections:Issue 1

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