Jeongoh Kim

Jeongoh Kim,

“Cultural Geographies of Intellectual Property: Turnpikes and Copyrights”

In this interdisciplinary essay, I combine literary and cultural-studies approaches to the relationship between road-making and copyright in the context of the new turnpikes. The enclosure of lands and the construction of turnpikes and canals not only broadened opportunities for travel and navigation but also accelerated the dissemination of commodities of all sorts. These geographical developments expanded, sometimes beyond the point of recognition, familiar notions of place that were framed by a parish or estate or even a metropolis. By poising the Foucauldian and economic views of the implications of the turnpikes, I argue that the turnpike road system fragmented geography while simultaneously reshaping this fragmented geography into a more organized network of improved roads. Highlighting the spread of turnpikes and canals and the laws of copyright in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century that defined how literature could be owned and exchanged, I aim to contribute to the history and theory of copyright in the intersection of geography and literature. In a telling phrase which chimes through “the great thoroughfare of the Brain,” Daniel Defoe establishes a sense of the place that locates authors within specific circuits of information, particularly within the turnpike road system as the medium and outcome, the precondition and embodiment, of the modern production of space. Crusoe’s voyage beyond the island of Juan Fernandez enfolds a return to the present Britain to reconfigure Defoe’s sense of the cultural geographies of intellectual property.

Stavroula Karapapa & Maurizio Borghi

Stavroula Karapapa & Maurizio Borghi,

Invisible Geographies: Copyright and the Unexplored Land of Non-Display Uses”

In this paper, we review the concept of “use” in copyright law. With the advent of mass digitisation projects, such as the Google Book Search, a peculiar shift has occurred in the way that digital copies are dealt with. While technology has so far mainly affected the way by which works are reproduced and distributed, mass digitisation purely affects the way by which the works are used. Works are turned into machine-readable data and are automatically processed without them being displayed to the public. In the Google Book Settlement Agreement, this new kind of use is referred to as “non-display uses” of digital works. In our view, these uses define a new, invisible territory in the conceptual geography of copyright; they occupy a space that challenges the traditional contours of the copyright doctrine since they are neither private nor public: they do neither belong to the “public sphere” of exploiting works, nor to the “private sphere” where the use of works may be realised. The paper aims to provide some guidance in defining the legal boundaries of this unexplored territory. To this end, we argue that neither positive law nor utilitarian arguments provide any guidance. Answers, however, may be sought at the level of rights. We therefore examine mass digitisation under the prism of copyright principles as rooted in personality rights and this enables an analogy to be made with data protection law. Sensitive data and works as data share analogies which are worth exploring. The principles applicable in data protection will eventually help in identifying which uses fall within the scope of author’s rights – irrespective of whether they involve the display of the work or not – and those which may be legitimately left outside the author’s control.

Debora Halbert

Debora Halbert,

“Exporting Authenticity:  The Construction of National Cultural Identity”

In this paper I investigate the narrative construction of national identity made through arguments about cultural preservation and cultural property.  The narrative is much more complex than simply demonstrating that American cultural hegemony with the help of intellectual property laws has created a global homogenized culture.  Instead, the corporatized global culture produced under the auspices of the culture industry must be understood within a nation-state project aimed at articulating cultural authenticity in the post-colonial world.

Even as states seek to shore up their borders and establish an authentic sense of identity, cultural diasporas scatter people across the globe.  Furthermore, in the age of modern travel, global nomads ignore the boundaries of the nation-state to fuse cultural traditions as they seek moments of personal authenticity and ways of escaping the globalized dominance of corporate culture.  These counter-trends not only challenge the nationalization of authentic culture but also highlight how diasporatic movements facilitate cultural flows and, I argue, are key to cultural development.

To examine the issues raised by nationalized culture, cultural fluidity, intellectual property, and authenticity I will first sketch out the commodification of culture embraced by American culture industries and their impact within a globalized setting.  Second, examine the complexities of the postcolonial landscape through the concepts of cultural authenticity, traditional culture, and the role of the nation-state.  Third, investigate the impact of diasporatic movements on cultural communication and an effort to find or experience authenticity, a concept that itself is highly problematic from a theoretical point of view.

Sara Bannerman

Sara Bannerman,

“’We are all developing countries’: Canada and International Copyright History”

Canada’s history with international copyright is a story of conflict: of struggle against British Imperial copyright, conflict with the international copyright system, and eventual engagement with the international copyright community. This paper outlines the path of Canadian international copyright history between 1886 and 1971, arguing that Canada’s international copyright history has been, in part, a product of the norms, institutions and policies of Canadian foreign relations, and that Canada’s history with the Berne Convention can be viewed as the struggle of a British colony to find a place within the international system – a struggle to project an image of Canada that accommodated the desire to be engaged in a community of the most powerful nations while also reflecting the reality of a country that was a net copyright importer with a relatively small creative industry. This paper asks what the role of a middle power like Canada is today, when developing countries and NGOs challenge key international copyright norms, and in the face of attempts to reform the international copyright system. Drawing on the work of Escobar, Shanin, and others who question the discourse and categorizations of development, I argue that international copyright history challenges the traditional geographies and categorizations of the international intellectual property landscape today and the boundaries between “developed” and “developing”, or “north” and “south”.

International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP)