Copyrighting Culture: The Political Economy of Intellectual Property

By Ronald V. Bettig | Go to book overview

the hegemonic faction of the capitalist class. As a result, broadcasters and AT&T lost some of their regulatory-based monopoly power in the face of the greater structural necessities of the capitalist class. This demonstrates that regulatory agencies can exercise a relative autonomy as well. The FCC was able to loosen the bonds of "captivity" imposed by broadcasters as it began promoting the larger interests of capital as a whole.

The law and nature of intellectual property are essentially based in capitalism. Here the options of the state apparatus were even more limited. Despite the contradictory nature of the policymaking, legislating, and litigating processes, the pressures and limits imposed by capitalism determined the outcome that cable operators ultimately be held liable for retransmission of copyrighted filmed entertainment. The form that the liability would take was a matter of negotiation and struggle between individuals, institutions, and industries. This case study shows how the adoption and development of new communications technology can be contingent but still determined by economic structures. This is particularly the case where private property rights are concerned, since they are essential to the definition of capitalism.


Notes
1.
Martin Carnoy, The State and Political Theory, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984, p. 210.
2.
Ralph Miliband, The State in Capitalist Society, New York: Basic Books, 1969; G. W. Domhoff , Who Rules America Now? Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1983; and, The Power Elite and the State: How Policy Is Made in America, New York: Aldine de Gruyter, 1990.
3.
The descriptions of instrumentalism and structuralism are adapted from Vincent Mosco , Pushbutton Fantasies: Critical Perspectives on Videotex and Information Technology, Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1982.
4.
Nicos Poulantzas, Classes in Contemporary Socialism, London: New Left Books, 1975; Political Power and Social Classes, London: New Left Books, 1975; State, Power, and Socialism, London: New Left Books, 1978.
5.
Bob Jessop, The Capitalist State, New York: New York University Press, 1982; State Theory: Putting the Capitalist State in Its Place, University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1990.
6.
Goran Therborn, What Does the Ruling Class Do When It Rules? London: Verso, 1980, p. 89.
7.
Mao Tse-Tung, "On Practice: On the Relation Between Knowledge and Practice", in A. Mandel (ed.), Four Essays on Philosophy, Peking: Foreign Language Press, 1966, pp. 1-20, p. 5.
8.
Jessop, 1990, p. 37.
9.
Anthony Giddens, Power, Property, and the State: A Contemporary Critique of Historical Materialism, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981.
10.
Miliband, p. 146.

-144-

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