Cultural Consumers and Copyright


Special issue of Arts Marketing, Edited by Hye-Kyung Lee; Deadline 31 Dec 2011

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Arts Marketing Special Issue: Cultural consumers and copyright

Guest editor

Dr Hye-Kyung Lee King’s College London, UK

Arts Marketing (AM) is pleased to announce a call for papers for a special issue devoted to examining cultural consumers and copyright.

During recent years the issue of copyright has attracted increasing attention from cultural industries, cultural policy makers, civil societies and consumers. However, their views of copyright vary noticeably and often look conflicting. While policy makers and the industries firmly see copyright as an exclusive property right belonging to the author of cultural content, the everyday life of cultural consumption frequently involves diverse forms of unauthorised reproduction, sharing and using of copyrighted works. With the advancement of digital technologies and online communications, the tensions around copyright are becoming more acute.

So far cultural policy and scholarly discussion of copyright has tended to be concerned more with producers than with consumers. The official discourse of copyright holds that the viability of cultural industries is dependent on generating and exploiting copyrights. Here, copyright is deemed generally as an incentive and reward for the creativity of cultural producers. This view has been critically examined by researchers who are concerned with public domain and those who point out the historical and cultural specificities of copyright as a modern, western notion embedded in the individualistic view of artist and artistic production. Yet, cultural consumers often tend to be generalised and abstracted as the public, paying audience or a collection of unauthorised file sharers. We have an increasing volume of research on cultural consumption, which provide a rich account of the dynamic and creative aspects of cultural consumption practices but it does not seem to feed into the discourse of copyright. Meanwhile, the issues of copyright and copyright infringement have been under-studied by arts marketing researchers in spite of their significant implications for marketing as theory and practice.

The existing literature on consumers’ attitudes towards copyright and their involvement in infringing activities generally concentrate on online file sharing of cultural contents such as music and film. Through qualitative and quantitative methods, the literature reveals demographic characteristics of infringing consumers, their motivations and justification, or the infringement’s impacts on the industry. However, there still is a lack of in-depth investigation of the intricate relationship between cultural consumers and copyright: for example, copyright policy’s view of the cultural consumer, consumers’ perception of copyright, and the (seriously limited) function of copyright as a social arrangement between cultural consumers and producers.

Because of its emphasis on interdisciplinary and critical research and the broader view of the arts and arts consumption, Arts Marketing: An International Journal (AM) is an ideal place to reflexively rethink copyright from the perspective of cultural consumers and their consumption practices.

The proposed edition would aim to bring the issue of copyright and infringing consumers to arts marketing discourse. At the same time, it will present challenging questions to arts marketing by casting light on the decoupling of consumption behaviour and ethics from cultural industries’ business strategies based on copyright protection and exploitation. The special edition will take a multidisciplinary view and will invite the submission of conceptual and empirical papers which draw on law, anthropology, sociology, cultural and media studies, consumption, marketing, management, cultural history, literary criticism and beyond. The call is open to papers on cultural industries such as film, music, TV and new media but other cultural forms and activities such as theatre, museum, classical music and art market will be also considered. The following is an indicative, but not exclusive, list of potential topics:

  • Copyright and arts marketing
  • Copyright policy’s view of cultural consumers
  • Cross-cultural analysis of copyright policy
  • Recent developments in copyright policy and their implications for cultural consumption
  • Cultural consumers’ understanding of copyright
  • Ethics or alternative ethics of cultural consumption
  • Collective consumption and copyright
  • Copyright infringement as a consumption practice
  • Online file sharing as a field of cultural production
  • Cultural fandom and copyright infringement
  • Piracy as a consumer protest
  • Cross-cultural analysis of consumers’ copyright infringement
  • Consumer creativity and its ownership
  • Collaboration between arts marketers and infringing consumers
  • The rise of free knowledge and copyright

Manuscripts should be submitted by email no later than 31 of December 2011 via the journal’s online submission system, in accordance with the journal’s editorial policy and author guidelines. Please address any queries regarding the special issue to Hye-Kyung Lee ( This special edition is due in publication in 2012.

Dr Hye-Kyung Lee
Centre for Culture, Media and Creative Industries
School of Arts and Humanities
King’s College London
Strand, London WC2R 2LS, UK