Cultural Rights: Technology, Legality, and Personality

By Celia Lury | Go to book overview

3

REPLICATION, NOVELTY AND REACTIVATION

The last chapter explored the implications of the emergence of market-led production for the forms of reproducibility and thus criteria of aesthetic quality associated with the new technologies of cultural reproduction. This was broadly conceptualised as a shift from a mode of repetition to one of replication. It was further suggested that the legal framework of copyright, in which cultural goods were constituted as intellectual property, set the terms in and through which exclusive rights of copying were determined. This constitution was related to the emergence of the author-function, seen as a key mechanism through which the manipulation of artificial rarity was managed in the increasingly routinised organisation of cultural production for élite consumption. It was also noted, however, that the development of the later reproductive technologies, such as photography and cinema, posed a challenge to this regime of rights. It is the nature of this challenge which forms the subject of this chapter; in particular, the implications of this challenge will be explored by considering the ways in which the market distribution of cultural goods impacts upon their production in what has been termed the culture industry (Adorno and Horkheimer, 1982). The focus will be on the social organisation of the second dimension of reproduction, that is, the relations between producers and audiences within the mode of replication. More specifically, the focus will be on the role of distributive intermediaries, distribution relations for ‘unknown’ audiences, and with the influence that this complex distribution system has on the production of cultural goods and the terms of their constitution and exploitation as intellectual property.

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