Monday, November 1, 2010
John G. Palfrey, Jr., Urs Gasser, Miriam Simun, and Rosalie Barnes, all of Harvard Law School, have published Youth, Creativity, and Copyright in the Digital Age, as Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2009-05. Here is the abstract.
New digital networked technologies enable users to participate in the consumption, distribution, and creation of content in ways that are revolutionary for both culture and industry. As a result, “Digital Natives” - young people growing up in the digital world with access to the technologies and the skills to use them in sophisticated ways - are now confronting copyright law on a regular basis. This article presents qualitative research conducted with students age 12-22 that explores youth understanding, attitudes, and discourse on the topic of digital creativity and copyright law. Our findings suggest that young people operate in the digital realm overwhelmingly ignorant of the rights, and to a lesser degree the restrictions, established in copyright law. They often engage in unlawful behavior, such as illegal peer-to-peer music downloading, yet they nevertheless demonstrate an interest in the rights and livelihoods of creators. Building upon our findings of the disconnect between technical, legal, and social norms as pertaining to copyright law, we present the initial stages of the development of an educational intervention that posits students as creators: the Creative Rights copyright curriculum. Educating youth about copyright law is important for empowering young people as actors in society, both in terms of their ability to contribute to cultural knowledge with creative practices and to engage with the laws that govern society.
Download the paper from SSRN at the link.