Copyright has long rested upon a series of dualistic doctrinal structures, including the fundamental dichotomy between the immaterial “work” and its fixation in a physical “copy.” This distinction, which was never entirely coherent even in traditional media, has broken down in the face of digital instantiations of creativity. The disconnection between legal doctrine and new media has now resulted in decades of incomprehensible decisions regarding the fixation of works in computer circuitry or the transmission of works across telecommunications media, particularly the Internet. However, during the past several years, an increasing number of scholars in a variety of fields have begun to re-emphasize the centrality of matter in their exploration of the world. New materialism might offer copyright a path out of such unsustainable distinctions, by providing a viewpoint that traverses the artificial opposition of work and copy, recognizing the primacy of matter in the development of creative expression.
03 June 2015
'Copyright and the New Materialism' by Dan L. Burk in Jessica Lai & Antoinette Maget (eds.) Intellectual Property and Access To Im/Material Goods (Forthcoming) comments