Clouds, Crowds and Copyright: Framing Ownership, Collecting, and Sharing- Key reading


Walter Benjamin, "Unpacking My Library"

  • Aims to consider "the relationship of a book collector to his possessions," giving an insight into the notion of "collecting rather than a collection". (59- 60)
  • "If I do this by elaborating on the various ways of acquiring books, this is something entirely arbitrary"- considering different ways people collect materials (i.e. online?) doesn't give us the full story about it. (60)
  • "The collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories" (60)- ideas of order and disorder are prominent for collectors.
  • Memories- collected items both evoke memories for the collector and allow the collector to "see through" them as though they are windows to the past. (61)
  • 63- 64- How the collector acquires the item can also become an important memory, however. 
  • Highlights how (in an example of a book auction) collectors can become interested in an item simply due to the item's popularity with other collectors (isn't this pretty much how concepts such as Spotify operate today?).
  • The old way of collecting, with auctions etc., lost some sort of value due to mass reproduction.

Wikstrom, "Music in the Cloud"

  • Supports the view that the rights holder should change with the times and be more flexible in order to accommodate changing practices. 
  • Suggests that today there are more ways of engaging with music than just listening- consumer participation across the board has increased (with practices such as online banking) but is particularly evident in the ways fans engage with music today- rehashing music and photos into their own creative products. (147)
  • File sharing is not necessarily a negative thing for the music industry- "music firms actually benefit from the audience's increased access to musical content". (151)
  • Advocates approaches such as that of Jay Z in releasing "The Black Album" complete with a capella versions for listeners to remix. (157)
  • Predicts that the amount of fan generated work will exceed that created by professionals in the future and that in…


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