Resisting the Resistance: Resisting Copyright and Promoting Alternatives

Author(s): 
Publication Type: 
Academic Writing
Publication Date: 
February 13, 2017

This article discusses the resistance to the Digital Revolution and the emergence of a social movement “resisting the resistance.” Mass empowerment has political implications that may provoke reactionary counteractions. Ultimately — as I have discussed elsewhere — resistance to the Digital Revolution can be seen as a response to Baudrillard’s call to a return to prodigality beyond the structural scarcity of the capitalistic market economy. In Baudrillard’s terms, by increasingly commodifying knowledge and expanding copyright protection, we are taming limitless power with artificial scarcity to keep in place a dialectic of penury and unlimited need. In this paper, I will focus on certain global movements that do resist copyright expansion, such as creative commons, the open access movement, the Pirate Party, the A2K movement and cultural environmentalism. A nuanced discussion of these campaigns must account for the irrelevance of copyright in the public mind, the emergence of new economics of digital content distribution in the Internet, the idea of the death of copyright, and the demise of traditional gatekeepers. Scholarly and market alternatives to traditional copyright merit consideration here, as well. I will conclude my review of this movement “resisting the resistance” to the Digital Revolution by sketching out a roadmap for copyright reform that builds upon its vision.

A pre-print of this article is available here. This article is forthcoming in 23 Richmond Journal of Law and Technology (2017).