The Third Paradigm
Intermezzo: Digital threat or renaissance?
Where the impact of digitalization on our cultural environment is investigated as well as the economic and social value of the Internet revolution. Technological advancement ignited a cultural change that revolutionized the modes of production, economics and language of creativity. The next few pages highlight the terrific value of networked digitization, in terms of the power of digital ubiquity, the riches of digital humanities, and the digitization of human cultural heritage. Despite the fearful rhetoric around digital piracy, content distribution in peer-to-peer networks may turn out to be an opportunity for creativity and creators rather than a threat. Technological innovation brought about a Digital Renaissance of cheap and global access to knowledge. Unless obsolete policies get in the way, the Digital Renaissance may lead to an era of Digital Enlightenment.
Stuart Brand, founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation, argued that ‘information wants to be free, because it has become so cheap to distribute, copy, and recombine – too cheap to meter. It wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to the recipient. That tension will not go away …’.1122 In that tension lies a digital dilemma for which meaningful policy responses have been sought for almost two decades.1123 Most likely, we are still short of a satisfactory solution.
As discussed in Chapter 5, the tension that Brand evoked has been seen as a threat by policy makers and the entertainment industry. Cheap copying and distribution challenged monopolistic control over increasingly valuable...
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