Owning Culture
0.5 Credit

The course explores the ways in which law shapes technologies of cultural production and consumption, with emphasis upon the intellectual property regimes of copyright, publicity rights, trademark, patents and domain names. How these laws create rights to control information, knowledge, symbols, and meanings as well as how they affect new forms of censorship and social exclusion, shape media environments and affect technological innovation and diffusion are considered. The continuing expansion and extension of intellectual property protections effects a continuing commodification of the public domain with numerous and often unintended social and political consequences in democratic societies. How such legal protections function to provoke the emergence of alternative communities with different moral economies (for example, fanzine communities), new forms of politics, and new forms of identity are also considered.