The Third Paradigm
Chapter 5: The road to propertization and enclosure
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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