eignty over the new realm of exchange -- electronic information. The outcome is a clear understanding of computer programs as intellectual property, the emergence of "legitimate" and "illegitimate" ownership of intellectual property, and ultimately the construction of villains who prey on "helpless" owners of copyrights.
The legal discourse helps reconstruct the traditional copyright story for use on the Internet and incorporate computer software under the rubric of ownership. What is packaged for the American people is a notion of intellectual property rights that is solid and permanent. Court cases help provide that solidity by establishing precedents that can be followed. As this chapter shows, the courts have appeared willing to balance competing property claims. However, these claims are balanced within an already existing set of property assumptions that are extended to cover new types of creative work and new methods for exchanging information. The courts have not questioned the applicability of copyright or property law. Copyright has become a commonly accepted myth legitimized through the legal system. 103 Yet, our current copyright paradigm is breaking down as it is stretched to make illegal the exchange that is practiced on the Internet and through the process of creation. Because copyright litigation is about protecting market share, the romantic notion of exchange it was meant to foster is dying. As we move further into the information age, the discourse on copyright is being used to develop the lines between appropriate and inappropriate actions. In the next two chapters, I look more closely at the production of villains. These villains help define the manner in which information should be shared.
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Publication information: Book title: Intellectual Property in the Information Age:The Politics of Expanding Ownership Rights. Contributors: Debora J. Halbert - Author. Publisher: Quorum Books. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1999. Page number: 70.
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