Copyrighting Culture: The Political Economy of Intellectual Property

By Ronald V. Bettig | Go to book overview

duction of "works for hire." Ownership of copyrights increasingly rests with the capitalists who have the machinery and capital to manufacture and distribute them.

Second, there has always been a tension between the monopolistic character of intellectual property and its normative goal of enhancing the flow of information and ideas. Copyright seeks to restrict the use of a work to those willing and able to pay for it. This exclusivity can have the opposite result than that intended by the founders of the system and may exacerbate the gaps between the informationrich and the information-poor. The oligopolistic structure of the communications system contributes further to the widening of these gaps. The incorporation of new communications technologies into this oligopolistic structure have undermined their potential to bring about an increase in the range and forms of intellectual and artistic creativity. In sum, their potential to significantly enhance participation in the communications system has been thwarted. These problems are rooted in the political-economic structure of communications, as the following chapters demonstrate.


Notes
1.
Denis McQuail, Mass Communication Theory: An Introduction (3rd ed.), London: Sage, 1994, p. 83.
2.
Anthony Giddens, "The Orthodox Consensus and the Emerging Synthesis", in B. Dervin et al. (eds.), Rethinking Communication, Volume 1: Paradigm Issues, Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1989, pp. 53-65.
3.
Oscar Gandy, "The Political Economy Approach: A Critical Challenge", Journal of Media Economics, 5:2, 1992, pp. 23-42.
4.
Graham Murdock, "Critical Inquiry and Audience Activity", in B. Dervin et al. (eds.), Rethinking Communication, Volume 2: Paradigm Exemplars, Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1989, pp. 226-249, p. 227.
5.
Compare Murdock with Patrick Parsons, "Defining Cable Television: Structuration and Public Policy", Journal of Communication, 39:2, 1989, pp. 10-26.
6.
Anthony Giddens, The Constitution of Society: Outline of the Theory of Structuration, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1984, pp. 25-28.
7.
Anthony Giddens, Central Problems in Social Theory, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979; Anthony Giddens, "Action, Subjectivity, and the Constitution of Meaning", Social Research, 53:3, 1986, pp. 529-545.
8.
Anthony Giddens, New Rules of Sociological Method, London: Hutchinson, 1976, p. 161.
9.
Murdock, "Critical Inquiry", p. 228.

-8-

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