Edited by Shubha Ghosh and Robin Paul Malloy
Chapter 7: Individual Branding: How the Rise of Individual Creation and Distribution of Cultural Products Confuses the Intellectual Property System
Deven R. Desai INTRODUCTION That we live in an age of information overload is already a cliché. Nonetheless, it is true;1 because digital creation has changed the way we generate and distribute information.2 We now live in a world where large, complex creations such as Wikipedia and open source software emerge through widespread individual efforts rather than through a single firm choosing to invest in and create an information product. The production of music and literature has changed as well. Instead of relying on the copyright industry to manage the production, marketing, and distribution of creative works, artists can take care of these functions by themselves. So although one could say that any artist is always an entrepreneur in that she creates a product and tries to sell it, today artists can and often do take on larger aspects of the business side of their work.3 Because artists are no longer locked into a gate keeping world, previously hidden or barely circulated creations are now available. In other words, it appears that the supply of creative goods (or perhaps more precisely access to the supply) is less and less of an issue. Generating demand for these goods now takes center stage. This chapter explores two aspects of this new mode of production: how it arose and the problems it generates. It is precisely the factors that allow for what Yochai Benkler has called The Wealth of Networks to emerge that will cause this new system to collapse. Specifically, with...
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