Framing standards, mobilizing users : Copyright versus fair use in transnational regulation

Quack, Sigrid; Dobusch, Leonhard

In this paper we analyze how politicized conflicts about the regulation of copyright following the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) shifted from the political to the market arena, where two opposing coalitions of actors pursued competing standard-setting initiatives. We find that paradoxically an industry coalition that had successfully lobbied during the TRIPS negotiations for a global copyright protection regime ran into trouble developing and enforcing it via technical standards in the market place, while a loose and emerging civil society coalition defending ‘fair use’ proved to be more effective to establish private copy-left licenses in the market than it had been before in influencing agenda setting in the political sphere. Drawing on organizational and social movement theory we show that the strategic use of organizational forms and collective action frames was more decisive for the mobilization of users than material resources, and that the success of collective action frames depended on their compatibility with user practices. Our analysis challenges standard arguments about regime complexity providing more leverage to well-endowed actors by highlighting the transformative dimension of resource mobilization. It also points to strategies of public-private shifting which future studies on regime complexity should better encompass.

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Quack, Sigrid / Dobusch, Leonhard: Framing standards, mobilizing users. Copyright versus fair use in transnational regulation. 2016.

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