2019-03-22 19:01:31
Imagine a world without copyright theory

By Joost Smiers and Marieke van Schijndel International Herald Tribune

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2005

What then, do we think, can replace copyright? In the first place, a work will have to take its chances on the market on its own, without the luxurious protection offered by copyrights. After all, the first to market has a time and attention advantage.

 

What is interesting about this approach is that this proposal strikes a fatal blow to a few cultural monopolists who, aided by copyright, use their stars, blockbusters and bestsellers to monopolize the market and siphon off attention from every other artistic work produced by artists. That is problematic in our society in which we have a great need for that pluriformity of artistic expression.

 

How do we think this fatal blow could work? If the protective layer that copyright has to offer no longer exists, we can freely exploit all existing artistic expressions and adapt them according to our own insights. This creates an unpleasant situation for cultural monopolists, as it deprives them of the incentive to pursue their outrageous investments in movies, books, T-shirts and any other merchandise associated with a single cultural product. Why would they continue making these investments if they can no longer control the products stemming from them and exploit them unhindered?

 

The domination of the cultural market would then be taken from the hands of the cultural monopolists, and cultural and economic competition between many artists would once again be allowed to take its course.

 

This would offer new perspectives for many artists. They would no longer be driven from the public eye and many of them would, for the first time, be able to make a living off their work. After all, they would no longer have to challenge – and bow down to – the market dominance of cultural giants. The market would be normalized.

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