Copyright, Communication and Culture

Copyright, Communication and Culture

Towards a Relational Theory of Copyright Law

Carys J. Craig

In this provocative book, Carys Craig challenges the assumptions of possessive individualism embedded in modern day copyright law, arguing that the dominant conception of copyright as private property fails to adequately reflect the realities of cultural creativity.

Chapter 8: Final Conclusions

Carys J. Craig

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law


There is more than a verbal tie between the words common, community, and communication. Men live in a community in virtue of the things which they have in common; and communication is the way in which they come to possess things in common. What they must have in common . . . are aims, beliefs, aspirations, knowledge – a common understanding. . . . Such things cannot be passed physically from one to another like bricks; they cannot be shared as persons would share a pie by dividing it into physical pieces.1 This book has inquired into the connection between the concepts of community, communication, culture and copyright. Authors, users, owners, infringers, audiences and every member of the public are always-already situated selves, constituted by – and constituting themselves in relation to – the communities in which they exist, and the texts and discourses that they encounter. Communication (the construction, apprehension and utilisation of symbolic forms)2 is fundamental to the social processes involved in developing and shaping communities and identities: it is through the interactive process of communication that we develop our relations with others, and our own identities in relation to the world. The concept of culture3 describes the domain in which our realities are created, maintained and transformed through collective conversation.4 The literary, dramatic, artistic and musical expressions that make up the subject matter of copyright law are central to this ongoing dialogic process.5 Copyright is therefore intrinsically linked to the communicative practices of our communities, and so intricately tied to the development of our society...

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