Hans Christian Andersen and the Commodification of Creativity
Edited by Helle Porsdam
Chapter 7: Should the Logic of ‘Open Source’ be Applied to Digital Cultural Goods? An Exploratory Essay
7. Should the logic of ‘open source’ be applied to digital cultural goods? An exploratory essay Lee Davis INTRODUCTION While digitization has affected all forms of intellectual property rights (IPRs) – patents, trademarks, copyrights, and the like – its strongest impact has been felt in the copyright industries. For example while patent protection has been extended to cover many inventions in software and software-implemented business methods, most patented products (such as drugs, chemicals, electronic circuits and machines) have retained their physical form. Similarly, while the trademark system has been the focus of bitter conflicts over the rights to use particular marks as Internet domain names without confusing and misleading customers, most trademarked products (such as automobiles, soft drinks, cereals and perfumes) have remained physical as well.1 In industries where copyrights are important, digitization has affected every form of innovation, in terms of both the underlying technology used to produce them, and the inventions themselves. Software programs are the most obvious example. But almost all cultural works, including paintings, literature, recorded music, TV broadcasts, films and video games, can now be expressed in virtual form. These works can be transmitted over the Internet, easily accessible to anyone, anywhere, around the world, readily altered by the click of the mouse. Not only have the copyright industries grown extremely rapidly in recent years, but pervasive digitization has also challenged the foundations of copyright law. One result has been an increased interest in the economic role of copyrights, either specifically (Landes and Posner 1989), or in...
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