Chapter 12: Open approaches to sharing: Egypt’s independent music – a realm of sharing and creativity
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This chapter attempts to tap into the universe of independent music consumption and production in Egypt, exploring how art can be leveraged through intellectual property (IP) strategies that are conducive to the progression of creativity. I tackle the question of how to create an environment that would empower peer production and collaboration rather than marginalise selected stakeholders via IP exclusion tools. The research is based on evidence from fieldwork exploring consumption and delivery practices and the prevailing perceptions on matters of copyright and musician remuneration. Research findings point to an independent music scene that exists in parallel to a non-intersecting mainstream universe of commercial music production. In the independent music realm, notions of copyright, cost and financial remuneration are of less concern to both musicians and consumers. Musicians could potentially reap an enhanced monetary benefit if they were to collaborate within a business model that capitalises on the capacity of digital platforms to freely disseminate their artistic voice, promote their music and enable innovative means of remuneration. I propose the idea of a digital commons for independent music in Egypt, as such a platform would resolve the moral element of copyright and allow for a ‘freemium’ model that could represent a workable balance between public access and producers’ returns.

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