Acting out: resisting copyright monopolies

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This chapter explores methods for resisting exclusionary monopolies that form from copyrights. Copyright law grants authors a bundle of exclusive rights concerning copying, publication, distribution, performance and the creation of derivatives for a limited amount of time. Contemporary copyright law - especially in the US - has been heavily critiqued as its emphasis on exclusion has become a way of financially exploiting intellectual properties with the concomitant effects of stifling creativity and free expression. The flexing of fair use rights provides a vital resistance to monopolies and abuses of copyright law. Creative Commons licences layer on top of copyright rather than providing an alternative; they co-opt the law to promote a vibrant public domain economy modelled on ‘free culture’ - low transactional costs in time, expertise and deployment. In addition to being an act of civil disobedience, ‘Grey Tuesday’ also highlighted the challenges for copyright enforcement where online digital media are concerned.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge companion to media and activism
EditorsGraham Meikle
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781315475059, 9781315475042
ISBN (Print)9781138202030
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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