Elgar Law, Technology and Society series
Edited by Sean A. Pager and Adam Candeub
Chapter 12: Digital Content Production in Nigeria and Brazil: A Case for Cultural Optimism?
Sean A. Pager* It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair . . . (Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities) 12.1 INTRODUCTION Like Dickens’s revolutionary France, the beginning of the 21st century was an era of rapid change that provoked both extreme optimism and pessimism. Two contrasting views on the future of cultural diversity competed in global discourse. Cultural optimism thrived in the technophilic raptures of the dotcom mania. Cybertopians envisioned a future in which technology tilted creative markets decisively in favor of diverse content and decentralized production. As the Internet freed us from Big Media’s stranglehold, commercial content would be supplanted by a reinvigorated folk culture powered by digital networks, open source licenses, peer production, remixes, mash-ups and “pajama bloggers.” In this brave new world of democratic empowerment, concerns over cultural diversity would dissolve magically into a digital cornucopia.1 * Vital research assistance was provided by Brett Manchel, Nick Paulucci, Roger Fonseca, and Barbara Doty. Thanks also to Mark Schultz and Jon Garon. 1 See, e.g. Chris Anderson, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More, 52–57 (2006) (charting diversification and democratization of culture); Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks 15 (2006) (hailing birth of digital “folk culture”); Madhavi Sunder, IP3, 59 Stan. L. Rev. 257, 263 (2006) (heralding “New Enlightenment”); William W. Fisher III, Promises to Keep: Technology, Law, and the Future of Entertainment 28 (2004) (anticipating “semiotic democracy...
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