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Lea Shaver

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Copyright And Inequality, Lea Shaver Feb 2014

Copyright And Inequality, Lea Shaver

Lea Shaver

The prevailing theory of copyright law imagines a marketplace efficiently serving up new works to an undifferentiated world of consumers. Yet the reality is that all consumers are not equal. The majority of the world’s people experience copyright law not as a boon to consumer choice, but as a barrier to acquiring knowledge and taking part in cultural life. The resulting patterns of privilege and disadvantage, moreover, reinforce and perpetuate preexisting social divides. Class and culture combine to explain who wins, and who loses, from copyright protection. Along the dimension of class, the insight is that just because new works …