The corporate titans take on the Internet: the fight over copyright is not a struggle between capital and labour, but one between different factions of capital by Peter Frase

Posted in: Governance at 16/03/2012 15:00

American politics is riven by an increasingly contentious debate over the status of intellectual property, especially copyright. On one side are those who argue that tougher enforcement of IP is desperately needed to protect the rights of creators, promote innovation, preserve jobs, and ensure economic growth. Opposing them are those who argue that the draconian enforcement of intellectual property rights will only curtail free speech and stifle economic activity, while entrenching the profits of a small class of digital-age rentiers.

How we resolve the tension between freedom of knowledge and intellectual property protection will have a profound impact on the kind of society and economy we become. But this debate is not merely a contest of ideologies - it is also a clash between some of the most powerful corporate actors in American politics with the rest of us caught in the middle. This is one important reason that the contending sides in this debate do not line up with the typical partisan or ideological cleavages in US politics, such as Democrat vs Republican, liberal vs conservative, left vs right.

To read this article in full by Peter Frase, an editor at Jacobin Magazine and a PhD student in sociology at the CUNY Graduate Centre, on the Al Jazeera website, see:

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