Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Creative Industries
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Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Creative Industries

Edited by Abbe E.L. Brown and Charlotte Waelde

The creative industries are becoming of increasing importance from economic, cultural, and social perspectives. This Handbook explores the relationship, whether positive or negative, between creative industries and intellectual property (IP) rights.
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Chapter 29: Distributed, cumulative, collaborative, collective creativity

Valdimar Tr. Hafstein


In an age of file sharing and peer-to-peer networking, of social media, mashups and remixes, we need a new language to speak of creative agency. Historically, folk tradition offered an alternative to authorship. This foresight essay proposes to imagine creative agency differently, to think in other terms about creative processes that are collective, collaborative, incremental, and distributed in space and time. Such creative processes are in fact the norm, not the exception. The chapter sketches a model of creativity in which creation is not a single act but a cumulative process; in which creative acts do not exist outside history but are historical, take place over time; in which creative agency is not modelled as individual but as collective or social; in which the figures of the author and the folk are not mistaken for empirical realities but provide instead two imaginary points on the compass of creative agency. The space between them is where creation happens. The figure proposed for that space is that of the collector-editor in the mould of the Grimm brothers.

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