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From Shakespeare to DJ Danger Mouse: A Quick Look at Copyright and User Creativity in the Digital Age



The Internet has changed the ways in which we create, disseminate, access, and re-use information, knowledge, and entertainment. In many respects, digital media has enabled us to become more creative and interactive, to write and publish our own stories without owning a printing press (weblogs), to broadcast our own radio shows without requiring access to a broadcast studio (podcasts), to make and distribute songs or video clips without depending on recording studios or big Hollywood. In this short essay, we first provide several examples to demonstrate that the law - especially copyright law - has not kept pace with the unfolding creative revolution of cyberspace. We then argue that the law should strike a new balance between the divergent interests of various stakeholders in order to foster participatory culture. Finally, we outline some approaches and proposals that might contribute to such an endeavor.