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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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Intermezzo: Digital threat or renaissance?

Giancarlo Frosio


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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