The Public Domain Commodified: Technological Measures and Productive Information Usage

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This paper addresses the questions whether technological measures and their protection contribute to the process of the so-called "commodification" of information and how they may affect the size of the "public domain." As there often is confusion about the meaning of the notions of "commodification" and the "public domain," first it is explained what is understood by these notions. After that, the ways in which the newly introduced protection of technological measures may broaden the control that information sellers can exercise over information usage are investigated. In doing so, the main focus will be on European law, in particular on the EU Copyright Directive of 2001. Subsequently, it is explored whether the additional control that technological measures and their protection provide is desirable from an economic point of view. The article concludes that there may be credible arguments for the legislature to intervene and to ensure that productive usage of non-copyrightable material cannot be hindered by applying a combination of technological measures and contracts.

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... 398-399) and becomes abundantly available (Himma, 2007). It constitutes a mass-produced good (Battelle, 2005), consumed as a commodity, rather than leveraged as a tool for personal growth of the individual or the development of democratic societies (Koelman, 2006). Information, including personal data (i.e. ...
This paper endeavours to clarify the role of technology in the governance of knowledge in the networked information society. Its central argument is that modern technologies of control, deployed as they are by powerful actors, tend to indiscriminately exclude access to knowledge, and, as a result, impede the dramatic potential of the digital age. In the process of underpinning the above thesis, the patterns of interrelation between code and the law and their influence on the networked information society are examined. It is argued that the existing equilibrium between control and A2K is disproportionately disposed toward specific private interests, originating primarily from powerful market players of traditional industrial sectors, while generally disregarding other private interests, or indeed the interest of the public as a whole. The paper concludes by calling for more equitable and balanced equilibria between control and A2K, implemented in a model of governance more clearly orientated towards social and economic development.
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Présenté à l'origine comme thèse de doctorat de l'auteur, Universiteit van Amsterdam, 2002. Lucie M.C.R. Guibault.