The first text I want to mention is a research paper by Christopher Newman, professor at the George Mason University School of Law, on 'Transformative Use and Derivative Works in Property and Copyright'. I mentioned in my post yesterday that the front lines of the current culture battle are presently being manned by a diverse band of lawyers, and this article follows that same vein by attempting to outline a new legal conception on our idea of 'copyright'. Here is an excerpt from the abstract:
Far from implying “absolutist” authorial rights, an in rem approach to copyright requires that we place clear boundaries around the identity of the “work of authorship.” This means moving away from the notion that disembodied fragments of “protected expression” can be owned separately from the “work of authorship” of which they are a part. I show how this might be done, proposing to define a “work of authorship” in terms of a coherent expressive experience designed by an author. Putative “copies” that are not tailored to facilitate beneficial use of the work as conceived by the author, but rather to communicate second-order information, or to give rise to expressive experiences radically discontinuous from the ones the author designed, therefore fall outside the author’s right to exclude altogether.The second text I want to post comes from the 'Institute of Network Cultures Weblog' and is titled The Telekommunist Manifesto by Dmytri Kleiner. Playing off of the same ideas and themes of Marx and Engels Communist Manifesto, Kleiner's text analyzes current social relations with regards to battles over information sharing and cultural production. One of its central tennets is that workers must move beyond the motives of the 'free software movement' or 'communization of immaterial property' and, instead, engage in 'self-organization in production'. Here is an excerpt:
This publication is intended as a summary of the positions that motivate the Telekommunisten project, based on an exploration of class conflict in the age of international telecommunications, global migration, and the emergence of the information economy. The goal of this text is to introduce the political motivations of Telekommunisten, including a sketch of the basic theoretical framework in which it is rooted. Through two interrelated sections, ‘Peer-to-Peer Communism vs. The Client-Server Capitalist State’ and ‘A Contribution to the Critique of Free Culture’, the Manifesto covers the political economy of network topologies and cultural production respectively.‘Peer-to-Peer Communism vs.The Client-Server Capitalist State’ focuses on the commercialization of the internet and the emergence of networked distributed production. It proposes a new form of organization as a vehicle for class struggle: venture communism. The section ends with the famous program laid out by Marx and Engels in their Communist Manifesto, adapted into a Manifesto for a networked society.So there you go, one text that seeks to play within the rules of our legal system and another that seeks to promote an alternative means of production that goes beyond our current legal boundaries in order to critique them. Enjoy the weekend and take some time to read the above, if only to bring alternative viewpoints into your frame of mind.