The Future of Intellectual Property Law
From its beginnings, copyright law has been shaped by technology. Each new technology renewed the debate over the ideal balance between public sharing and private control. The newest challenge to copyright, however, is making it increasingly clear that the traditional copyright story might be incapable of addressing the global exchange of information. Emphasizing the possibilities of new technology is one method to help construct a democratic vocabulary that endorses the free flow of information. The impulse to freely exchange information can be used to challenge information and cultural ownership because it defies the boundaries copyright owners wish to create between themselves and the public.
The preceding chapters have described how the traditional copyright story has been used, constructed, and defended. These chapters illustrate how the boundary of property has been expanded to include computer technology and how an attempt is underway to clearly commodify other dimensions of intellectual property uses in the information age. These property boundaries are extended through a process that relies heavily on narrative strategies where a particular notion of property is asserted as truth.
The traditional copyright narrative is not without its fractures. Copyright itself is balanced between sovereignty and exchange systems. It takes immense effort in the form of litigation and the construction of deviance to maintain this particular system of sovereignty. The copyright system has helped create a unified notion of authorship and creativity that can help enforce the boundaries of ownership and is currently being used to further expand and cement ownership. Copyright turns the author into a conceptually coherent subject when the reality is the opposite.