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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 10: The temple of Digital Enlightenment

Giancarlo Frosio


Where the propositional part of this work is situated. In the introductory preamble to a roadmap for reform, the discussion focuses first on the reactionary resistance to the Digital Revolution. Over Baudrillard’s concepts can be laid the digital dilemma of taming a domain of limitless resources with artificial scarcity. The resistance to the Digital Revolution counterposes an emerging and broad global movement criticizing and resisting copyright expansion, including the A2K movement, the open access movement and the public domain project. Looking to scholarly and market alternatives to the traditional copyright model, we begin to see that if the interplay between community, law and market is reshaped, it is indeed possible to envision a system that may fully exploit the digital opportunity by looking at the history of creativity for guidance. Different areas of analysis set the boundaries of the roadmap: rethinking users’ rights, in particular users’ involvement in the legislative process; the emergence of a politics of access and a politics of the public domain, rather than a politics of IP; making cumulative and transformative creativity regain its role through the redefinition of copyright exclusivity; and the transition to a consumer gift system or user patronage, through digital crowd-funding. This roadmap should take us to the 3rd Paradigm, reconciling the 1st and 2nd Paradigms by building a creative ecosystem where miscellaneous forms of creativity – collective, collaborative, individualistic, professional and user-generated – coexist again.

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