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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 5: The road to propertization and enclosure

Giancarlo Frosio


Where the short life of the author-centred system envisioned by the Enlightenment and Romantic revolution is highlighted. To motivate distributors to bear the enormous costs of national and, later, worldwide dissemination of intellectual works, legislative bodies granted them large monopolistic rights, whose scope was constantly expanded through the last two centuries. In the era of the expensive distributor, the author became merely a fig leaf around rights needed by high-capital distributors. Much of the present copyright law is, therefore, distributor centred, rather than author centred. The critique at hand – a critique of the present distributor-centred copyright system – begins with the analysis of several factors leading to the enclosure of the public domain, such as copyright extension and expansion, technological enclosure and contractual enclosure. The road to propertization made the copyright’s paradox unsustainable by privileging protection and hindering access.

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