Copyrighting Culture: The Political Economy of Intellectual Property

By Ronald V. Bettig | Go to book overview

empire through Anne Cox Chambers and to Security Pacific National Bank, Dow Chemical Company, American Express, Sun Trust Banks, Inc., Trust Company of Georgia, and other investment firms.160 Before linking with Time, Warner Communication's interlocking directorates included Chris-Craft Industries, Inc., Salomon Brothers, Inc., and several law and investment firms.161 In 1992, Disney's board was linked to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, BankAmerica Corp., Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Co., Bank of California, Northwest Airlines, and L.A. Gear Inc. Additional ties linked it to oil and gas exploration, law, and real estate development firms.162 These networks serve to extend and broaden the shared stake held by the corporate core of the capitalist class in the existing economic system. At the same time, these common interests are highly concentrated in the hands of a tightly knit big-business community, making U.S. capitalism much more coordinated than competitive.


Conclusion

As this brief survey demonstrates, the ownership and control of informational and cultural industries, intellectual property, and the means of embodying and disseminating it constitute a valuable portion of the productive capital owned and controlled by the capitalist class. However, the task of defending and extending intellectual property rights is necessarily complex given the peculiar nature of intellectual property. This peculiarity of informational and cultural products distinguishes them from tangible forms of property and requires special mechanisms to facilitate the appropriation and exploitation of intellectual property. It also necessarily implicates the state in the process of conferring, extending, and protecting intellectual property rights. These themes are explored in the next two chapters.


Notes
1
This breakdown of the political economy of communications is used by Jeffrey Halley , "Culture in Late Capitalism," in S. McNall (ed.), Political Economy. A Critique of American Society, Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1981, pp. 137-155. A slightly more elaborate categorization scheme for "critical communications research" is developed by Vincent Mosco, The Pay-Per Society: Computers and Communication in the Information Age, Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1989, pp. 41-66.
2
Georg Hegel, The Philosophy of History, New York: Dover, 1956; Rudolf Hilferding, Finance Capital, London: Routledge, 1981; Rosa Luxemburg, The Accumulation of Capital, New York: Monthly Review Press, 1964; Paul Sweezy, The Theory of Capitalist Development, New York: Oxford University Press, 1942; Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy, Monopoly Capital, New York: Monthly Review Press, 1966; V. I. Lenin, Imperialism, New York: International Publishers, 1939; Nikolai Bukharin, Imperialism and the World Economy, New York: International Publishers, 1929.
3
Robert Heilbroner, The Nature and Logic of Capitalism, New York: W. W. Norton, 1985, p. 33.

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