2018-12-13 13:22:04
05.13.2011 MIT – Media in Transition conference In Focus/Talks, interviews

For this seventh Media in Transition conference, we focus directly on our core topic – the experience of transition.

Has the digital age confirmed and exponentially increased the cultural instability and creative destruction that are often said to define advanced capitalism? Does living in a digital age mean we may live and die in what the novelist Thomas Pynchon has called “a ceaseless spectacle of transition”? The nearly limitless range of design options and communication choices available now and in the future is both exhilarating and challenging, inciting innovation and creativity but also false starts, incompatible systems, planned obsolescence. How are we coping with the instability of platforms?

I will talk about:

Informal Media Economies – What Can We Learn from the Pirates of Yesteryear?, Bodo Balazs
A longer historical lens suggests that the current crisis of copyright, piracy, and enforcement has much in common with earlier periods of conflict among the different participants of the cultural ecosystem. From the early days of the book trade in the 16th century, cultural markets were shaped by several, competing forces: the Crown’s and the Church’s will to control the flow of ideas, publishers’ need to limit competition among themselves, the authors’ need for financial and political independence and the public’s want for cheap and easily accessible print materials. Several, often overlapping formal and informal arrangements have existed between these stakeholders to regulate the cultural field. One of the informal forces that shape cultural markets is what we call piracy. Piracy is the informal network of producers, distributors and sellers that operate beyond the formally regulated economy. The term piracy suggests illegality, but we stress on the informality of these networks, which include a wide variety of practices from the plainly illegal to those that are consciously opt not to rely on the formal regulatory structures to organize themselves. Informal economies are indeed alternatives to formally organized economies, and this alternativity is usually seen as a threat. I, however, would like to argue, that informal networks, piracy included, are not simply threats, but also offer opportunities to improve on formalized structures. This article argues that 300 years after the first formal copyright regulation, formal instruments regulating the production and flow of intellectual properties are still only one, out of many more-or-less formal arrangements that shape cultural markets.For this seventh Media in Transition conference, we focus directly on our core topic – the experience of transition.

Has the digital age confirmed and exponentially increased the cultural instability and creative destruction that are often said to define advanced capitalism? Does living in a digital age mean we may live and die in what the novelist Thomas Pynchon has called “a ceaseless spectacle of transition”? The nearly limitless range of design options and communication choices available now and in the future is both exhilarating and challenging, inciting innovation and creativity but also false starts, incompatible systems, planned obsolescence. How are we coping with the instability of platforms?

I will talk about:

Informal Media Economies – What Can We Learn from the Pirates of Yesteryear?, Bodo Balazs
A longer historical lens suggests that the current crisis of copyright, piracy, and enforcement has much in common with earlier periods of conflict among the different participants of the cultural ecosystem. From the early days of the book trade in the 16th century, cultural markets were shaped by several, competing forces: the Crown’s and the Church’s will to control the flow of ideas, publishers’ need to limit competition among themselves, the authors’ need for financial and political independence and the public’s want for cheap and easily accessible print materials. Several, often overlapping formal and informal arrangements have existed between these stakeholders to regulate the cultural field. One of the informal forces that shape cultural markets is what we call piracy. Piracy is the informal network of producers, distributors and sellers that operate beyond the formally regulated economy. The term piracy suggests illegality, but we stress on the informality of these networks, which include a wide variety of practices from the plainly illegal to those that are consciously opt not to rely on the formal regulatory structures to organize themselves. Informal economies are indeed alternatives to formally organized economies, and this alternativity is usually seen as a threat. I, however, would like to argue, that informal networks, piracy included, are not simply threats, but also offer opportunities to improve on formalized structures. This article argues that 300 years after the first formal copyright regulation, formal instruments regulating the production and flow of intellectual properties are still only one, out of many more-or-less formal arrangements that shape cultural markets.

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