Julie Cohen, ‘Property and the Construction of the Information Economy: A Neo-Polanyian Ontology’

Abstract:
This chapter considers the changing roles and forms of information property within the political economy of informational capitalism. I begin with an overview of the principal methods used in law and in media and communications studies, respectively, to study information property, considering both what each disciplinary cluster traditionally has emphasized and newer, hybrid directions. Next, I develop a three-part framework for analyzing information property as a set of emergent institutional formations that both work to produce and are themselves produced by other evolving political-economic arrangements. The framework considers patterns of change in existing legal institutions for intellectual property, the ongoing dematerialization and datafication of both traditional and new inputs to economic production, and the emerging logics of economic organization within which information resources (and property rights) are mobilized. Finally, I consider the implications of that framing for two very different contemporary information property projects, one relating to data flows within platform-based business models and the other to information commons.

Cohen, Julie E, Property and the Construction of the Information Economy: A Neo-Polanyian Ontology (June 22, 2017). Leah Lievrouw and Brian Loader, eds, Handbook of Digital Media and Communication (Routledge, forthcoming).

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