Creativity and intellectual property rights

Toynbee, Jason (2010). Creativity and intellectual property rights. In: Anheier, Helmut K. and Isar, Yudhishthir Raj eds. Cultures and Globalization: Cultural Expression, Creativity and Innovation. The Cultures and Globalization Series (3). London: Sage, pp. 86–98.



Copyright, the main form of intellectual property in cultural production, has played a key part in globalization. Although it is presented as an unalloyed good by its powerful defenders in corporations and states, this chapter argues to the contrary that copyright is of dubious value. For in fact the expansive copyright regime which characterizes the present era threatens vulnerable cultures – traditional and hybrid – around the world. The argument is made by refuting the conventional rationales for copyright, both economic and aesthetic. Supporting evidence is then drawn from the cases of music making in Jamaica, and the Bollywood film industry in India. Each, in a perhaps surprising parallel, suggests that creative cultures can flourish in, and may even depend upon, the absence of effective copyright.

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