Dissertation Defense - Chris Heaney
You are cordially invited to join us for the Dissertation Defense of Chris Heaney, to be held on Thursday, May 24, 2018, beginning at 2 p.m in the Media Arcade, Allen Library North (ALB) room 381F. Below, you will find the dissertation abstract and the Supervisory Committee.
Title: No Country for Old Media
The philosophical defense of intellectual property theory has become a significant, and growing, area of inquiry over the past several decades. Copyright, the legal mechanism protecting creative works, is one major class of intellectual property rights. Modern intellectual property thought draws primarily from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century paradigms, which relied upon reasonable but implicit assumptions about durability of material substrates. Subsequent changes in how intellectual works are fixed physically, as well as practical experience with copyright implementation, challenge these assumptions about durability, and indicate the need for more circumscribed grants of intellectual rights. Yet copyright duration and scope increased substantially in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the changes in media durability have gone largely unconsidered by recent theorists. As a result, modern adaptations of intellectual property theory extrapolated from Enlightenment-era models fail to afford sufficient value to preservation of creative works.
Many nineteenth- and twentieth-century media are inherently fragile or unstable, illustrating problems with the archetype of the long-term information carrier – for instance, newspaper and paperback books in print, daguerreotypes in photography, phonograph cylinders and shellac discs in audio, nitrate film and VHS tapes in visual media, and floppy disks in software-based media. The relationship over time between American copyright policy and preservation efforts is assessed for three multimedia formats: sound recordings, moving images, and video games. This set of historical analyses is employed to suggest revisions to modern intellectual property theories, offering a more robust conceptualization of what intellectual property is for and what it should accomplish in practice.
- Jin Ha Lee, Chair
- Adam D. Moore, Member
- Nicholas Weber, Member
- Robert Gomulkiewicz, GSR