May 6, 2015

An Alternative View of the Author As Professional in Culture Production

Shun-Ling Chen, Academia Sinica Law Institution, is publishing Exposing Professionalism in United States Copyright Law: The Disenfranchised Lay Public in a Semiotic Democracy in volume 49 of the University of San Francisco Law Review (2015). Here is the abstract.
The article contributes to the contemporary critique of copyright law in two ways. First: existing literature focuses on the images of the author as a "romantic genius" or as a property owner. This paper points out that there is a third image of the author in copyright law – that of an "expert author". By exposing how professionalism is ingrained in copyright law's rhetoric of progress, quality work and justifiable economic compensation, the paper shows that the institution of copyright redistributes not merely material resources, but also symbolic resources in society (i.e. prestige, credibility, and power in cultural production). Secondly, the exposure of professionalism enables us to understand a tactic the incumbent copyright industry uses to discredit collaborative projects and to continue championing a restrictive copyright regime. Exposing professionalism helps to re-orient knowledge and power in culture production, and is therefore key to a robust semiotic democracy.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.

Cross posted at Media Law Prof Blog here.

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