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Reconciling Copyright with Cumulative Creativity

The Third Paradigm

Giancarlo Frosio

Reconciling Copyright with Cumulative Creativity: The Third Paradigm examines the long history of creativity, from cave art to digital remix, in order to demonstrate a consistent disparity between the traditional cumulative mechanics of creativity and modern copyright policies. Giancarlo Frosio calls for the return of creativity to an inclusive process, so that the first (pre-modern imitative and collaborative model) and second (post-Romantic copyright model) creative paradigms can be reconciled into an emerging third paradigm which would be seen as a networked peer and user-based collaborative model.
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Chapter 3: Gift, market and patrons

Giancarlo Frosio


Where the tension between the gift and the market economy throughout the history of creativity is charted. From the time of Pindar and Simonides – and before Romanticism ignited a process of complete commodification of creative artefacts – market exchange models ran parallel to gift exchange. From Roman amicitia to Erasmian ideals of commonality and knowledge sharing, creativity has been repeatedly construed as a gift. Even at the time of the British and French ‘battle of the booksellers’, in the late eighteenth century, the rhetoric of the gift still resounded powerfully from the mists of the past to shape the constitutional moment of copyright law. After a long dominance of propertization and market exchange, the gift economy is regaining momentum in the networked society. This may suggest that the history of the tensions that have characterized the nature and the economics of creativity may present a repetitive pattern. After the post-Romantic cultural paradigm sidelined cumulative creativity and the gift economy in the discourse about creativity, we may note a newly emerging emphasis on those ideas in the networked society.

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