Sites of Resistance: Weblogs with Creative Commons Licenses

Here's the abstract of my presentation for this fall's AoIR conference...Saturday 4:00-5:15 if anyone wants to see it! :-)

Recent scholarship about intellectual property has taken issue with recent legislation that extends the terms of copyright and has argued that, in order for creativity and innovation to be possible, the public needs a realm of ideas and content to use freely. Long-term copyright delays the entrance of ideas, images, and songs into the public domain. To demonstrate resistance to current legislation, Creative Commons (CC) was established. CC licenses allow creators to give up varying degrees of copyright protection to create a "Some Rights Reserved" model. In this essay, I will explore the growing trend of weblogs that have CC licenses and why bloggers are choosing alternatives to "All Rights Reserved." I will state ways that bloggers and weblogs are making a particularly important contribution to the realization of the Web as an intellectual commons: first, influential bloggers whose weblogs are widely read and linked to have gotten CC licenses, which has produced a mimetic effect; second, the weblog is a genre that lends itself to building upon others' content and does not operate on the assumption that one needs a financial incentive to create; and third, it is significant to note that with popular blogging tools Movable Type and Userland, CC licensing options are built in at the software level. I argue that part of what makes blogging a public-domain-oriented genre is its cultural context: the fact that blogging evolved pari passu with the rise of open source and publicly licensed software, the tightening of copyright restrictions, and the popularity of peer-to-peer networks.

I know that's Very Broad. My presentation will be mostly about bloggers with CC licenses in particular, with just a few remarks at the end about the intellectual property implications in general.


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about resistance


Sounds like a really interesting presentation. I'm intrigued by the first portion of your title: resistance to recent long-term copyright legislation (I'm assuming Bono etc.) in what sense? I ask because a friend of mine in the rhet/comp program here at UMass is using the term "resistance" in his own research, and has run into the fact that composition has some very specific meanings for the term (I think he's been reading Giroux, who I haven't read), which has made him ask: who's resisting? Who are they resisting? What are they resisting? What are the motivations on both sides? What are the strategies and tactics of resistance, and what end do those strategies and tactics work towards? Are bloggers with CC licenses resisting copyright extension legislation, or trying to maintain more control over how their own writing is used, or both? I ask because, while I agree on a gut level with open-source arguments, as somebody composing a dissertation, I feel that the "IP is theft" slogan is a bit facile.


Hey, Mike

I just saw your comment! I'll think about this and reply a bit later...for now, I think my presence is requested for a trip to the co-op for wheatgrass juice.

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