Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Social Sciences, Media and Communication- Faculty of Arts


This study contributes to the field of critical copyright studies through an engagement with the legal and cultural history of copyright doctrine. This thesis considers the prominent philosophies employed to justify copyright and investigates the logic of the incentive argument, which holds that creativity will not occur unless regulatory systems of enforcement are in place. It explores the effects of trade liberalisation and the US Free Trade agenda on contemporary global, American and Australian copyright regimes. This inquiry maps the intersections of copyright law, politics, commerce and digital cultural activities, examining both the conflicts and sites of possible amity in regards to the rights of owners and users of copyright protected materials. This thesis employs three case studies to provide a critique of alternative and complimentary systems of copyright management, examining the potential for copyright licensing schemes to contribute to the expansion of knowledge, innovative behaviours and open content production in the digital environment.

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Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.