Free-riding, cooperation, and ‘peaceful revolutions’ in copyright (post-print draft)

I have a new article in press with the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology. I’m interested in comments on the post-print draft. Abstract: Modern copyright law is based on the inescapable assumption that users, given the choice, will free-ride rather than pay for access. In fact, many consumers of cultural works – music, books,[…]

Ruth Okediji: IP rights and the African innovation paradox (Global Congress 2013, Cape Town)

Ruth Okediji makes an argument that we need to resist and avoid consenting and legitimising a system of command and control in IP. Okediji’s starting point is that the essence of the fourth wave of IP geopolitical change is not about harmonisation: it’s about fundamentally de-anchoring IP from the public interest. It’s about a unilateral[…]

Peaceful revolutions: crowdfunding the commons (podcast)

Today I presented an outline of my research at QUT Law School‘s lunchtime research seminars. This project examines new models for producing knowledge and cultural goods – books, films, and music – through collective action. For a long time, copyright scholars have assumed that apart from some limited public subsidies, a private property right in[…]

Crowdfunding the commons

Cross-posted from the CC Blog. What do Amanda Palmer, a book on storytelling in Africa, and particle physics have in common? That’s what I’d like to find out. I have just spent two weeks in the Creative Commons offices in Silicon Valley, kicking off a research project that seeks to understand the role of voluntary[…]

Social norms and licence choice: What motivates free software developers to choose between copyleft and permissive licences?

Free software licences can be divided into two broad categories: copyleft licences (like the GPL), which require derivatives of the software to be licensed under the same terms; and permissive licences (like the MIT/X11 licence), which allow the software to be reused in any project, even closed-source projects. There are variations, of course – the[…]

Commons-based models of Cultural Production, Presentation at Rutgers RIIPL, 8 April 2013

Here is the video of my presentation of at a Rutgers faculty lunch series seminar for the Rutgers Institute of Information Policy and Law. Thanks to Greg Lastowka for inviting me. You can view my slides here and access a podcast of the talk at the RIIPL site. The quality is not superb – I’m[…]

Interview with Eric Hellman, founder of is a crowdfunding platform that allows users (‘ungluers’) to contribute to the costs of publishing open access books. So far, the site has ‘unglued’ three books. The most influential of these is Ruth Finegan’s “Oral Literature in Africa“, a classic research monograph first published in 1970, which has had significant scholarly impact. The other[…]

Drake IP 2013: Nic Suzor, Crowdfunding the Commons

At the Drake IP Roundtable 2013, I presented about my current research, looking at examples of collective action in free and open cultural production across the creative industries (see more detail). Slides available here. I noted that consortia-based open access are examples of ‘peaceful revolutions’ (Suber) that challenge the assumptions of copyright law. These models[…]