(via Cybernormer) Måns Svensson & Stefan Larsson have released a report Social Norms & Intellectual Property – Online norms and the European legal development here is some information about what it’s about:
Research report in Sociology of Law (Nov 2009):
Social Norms and Intellectual Property – Online norms and the European legal development.
By Måns Svensson and Stefan Larsson
The study empirically examined, or rather examined the lack of, social norms opposing illegal file sharing. A total of over 1,000 respondents have answered the questionnaire. Along with the social norm indicators, the study maps out relevant questions regarding internet behaviour in this field, such as the will to use anonymity services and the will to pay for copyrighted content. These results are compared and contrasted with the legal development trend in European law in internet and file sharing related matters, as well as the Swedish implementation of this development, as a member of the European Union. This includes the Intellectual Property Enforcement Directive (IPRED), the Directive on Data retention as well as the implementation of INFOSOC.
The report consequently portrays the social norms on the one hand and the legal development on the other, and the overarching question of the report therefore addresses the correlation of these two. Do the social norms amongst 15-25 year olds match the legal regulation, as well as the regulatory trend on this field? If not, how can this be understood or explained? The study shows that the cybernorms differ, both in inherent structures and origin, from current legal constructions.
On my way home I was wandering aimlessly browsing stores and walked into a second hand bookstore and found The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson for 1.99 euros! The book includes many of his longer and shorter works and a large selection of letters. My favorite is Thomas Jefferson’s letter to Isaac McPherson (13 August 1813) which includes the wonderful quote:
If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.
Thomas Jefferson was also in Paris during the French revolution and I am looking forward to reading his letters during this period. Some red wine and an interesting discussion with Thomas is my idea of a good Friday.
Intellectual property tends to be taught by and to lawyers which is a shame since they tend to focus on addressing the questions of how the law works. This handyman approach is necessary since most of the students are going to go out an apply the law – the idea is that they do not really need to understand the law beyond its application. We do not educate law students we simply fill them with facts.
So when law courses are taught outside the auspices of the law department it’s time to sit up and listen.
The course Intellectual Property and Digital Information: Law, Politics, and Culture is being offered by the section for ABM (Archive, Library, Information and Museum Science) of the Department of Cultural Sciences. Here is part of the course description:
The course is intended to deal with these issues from a number of different perspectives, specifically considering cultural, political, legal, but also economical aspects, including those relevant outside a Western context. It will provide an overview of the legal situation in a national, European, and international setting and also look at some hotly debated disputes and international agreements. We will gain an understanding of the various forms of intellectual property (copyright, patent, trademark, etc.) as well as concern ourselves with alternative concepts including the creative commons, open access, open source, and also file-sharing and piracy, and anchor them in a cultural and political context.
See what I mean? Lawyers would hardly be interested in the wider perspective in this manner. I wonder if I should apply to the course…