Creative Commons and contemporary copyright: A fitting shoe or "a load of old cobblers"?

Maureen O'Sullivan


This article examines copyright's historic trajectory from a common law to a statutory privilege, turning almost full circle in recent years, in the current age of high technology. It simultaneously probes theories of intellectual property rights which are grounded in somewhat skewed ideas related to tangible property, and contextual parallels and contrasts are drawn between physical and ephemeral resources throughout. The founding and fomenting of various civil society organisations in response to the expansions in the term and scope of copyright law, such as Creative Commons, is then charted. This leads on to complex questions about what constitutes the public domain, and whether and how it should be facilitated. The aims of grassroots movements such as Creative Commons to persuade and assist authors, through voluntary means, to relax their legislative rights and its impact on copyright law and practice, are also critically evaluated.

Full Text:



A Great Cities Initiative of the University of Illinois at Chicago University Library.

© First Monday, 1995-2019. ISSN 1396-0466.