Tolerance is Law

The good news today is that the revision to the article “Tolerance is Law: Remixing Homage Parodying Plagiarism” (written with Jan Nolin) are done and its been sent in to SCRIPTed

As its not been published yet all I can provide is the abstract and this wordle doodle of the text. The good news is that SCRIPTed provides its articles freely and openly online.


Three centuries have passed since copyright was developed to stimulate creativity and promote learning. The fundamental principles still apply, despite radical developments in the technology of production and distribution of cultural material. In particular the last decades’ developments and adoption of ICT’s have drastically lowered barriers, which previously prevented entry into the production and distribution side of the cultural marketplace, and led to a widening of the base at which cultural production occurs and is disseminated.  Additionally, digitalization has made it economically and technically feasible for users to appropriate and manipulate earlier works as method of production.

The renegotiation of barriers and the increased number of creators who publish their works has led to an increase in copyright violations and a pressure on copyright legislation. Many of these potential violations are tolerated, in some cases have become common practice, and created social norms. Others have not been so fortunate and the law has been rigidly enforced. This arbitrary application decreases the predictability of law and creates a situation where creation relies on the tolerance of the other copyright holders. This article analyses different cases of reuse that test boundaries of copyright. Some of these are tolerated, others not. When regulation fails to capture the rich variation of creative reuse, it becomes difficult to predict which works will be tolerated. The analysis suggests that as copyright becomes prohibitive, social norms, power and the values of the copyright holder dominate and not law.


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