Tracking Configurable Culture From the Margins to the Mainstream

Great academic article here from the latest issue of the Journal of Computer Mediated Communication. Better yet, the article was published open-access, so anyone can read it. =) The findings won’t be of any real surprise to most Pirates, but it’s good to see academic recognition of changing attitudes towards copyright.

In this study, we analyze data from surveys conducted in 2006 and 2010, tracking changes in awareness, engagement and attitudes surrounding emerging digital cultural forms over this 5-year period. Our analysis, based on results from thousands of adults around the globe, shows that not only have remixes, mashups and other forms of “configurable culture” become mainstream phenomena, but also that the attitudes surrounding their cultural legitimacy are shifting. While copyright industries still promote a binary theft/permission framework, many people acknowledge the validity of some appropriation, and are actively negotiating the law’s limitations. Yet, those most engaged in challenging dominant copyright narratives and exploring these emergent forms are those who hold the reins of cultural power: the young, educated and wealthy.