Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and the Trap of Inhalt (Content) and Form: An Information Perspective on Music Copyright.

Kretschmer, M. and Kawohl, F., 2009. Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and the Trap of Inhalt (Content) and Form: An Information Perspective on Music Copyright. Information, Communication and Society, 12 (2).

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Abstract

In the digital environment, copyright law has become trapped in an assessment of what has been taken, rather than what has been done with copied materials and elements. This expands the scope of copyright into areas where it should not find infringement (such as sampling, mash-ups and other transformative uses) while encouraging activities that are problematic (such as hiding sources). This article argues that the trap was laid by the German idealist philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte whose influential 1793 article Proof of the Unlawfulness of Reprinting for the first time distinguishes Inhalt (i.e. content free to all) and Form (i.e. the author’s inalienable expression) as copyright categories. It is shown that Fichte’s structure conflates norms of communication and norms of transaction. An alternative path for copyright law in an information society is sketched from a separation of these norms: copying should be assessed from (i) the attribution of sources, and (ii) the degree to which original and derivative materials compete with each other. Throughout the article, transformative practices in music set the scene.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:1369-118X
Subjects:Social Sciences > Law
Group:Business School > Department of Law
ID Code:9252
Deposited By:INVALID USER
Deposited On:22 Jan 2009 10:15
Last Modified:07 Mar 2013 15:05

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