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Private Ordering in the Shadow of Copyright Law. Google Books as a Blueprint

Author: Hofmann, J.
Published in: Politische Vierteljahresschrift, Sonderheft 46, 248–272
Year: 2012
Type: Academic articles

The information economy is undergoing a period of fundamental change. These changes concern the ways information goods are owned and traded, and how they are regulated through public and private rules. Prompted by the predominantly juristic discussion on the copyright regime in the information age, this article offers a regulatory perspective on the evolving governance arrangements that shape the market for cultural goods.Google Books, the unsuccessful but very well documented attempt to re-utilize the vast amount of out-of-print works, serves as an example to illuminate the ongoing transformation of information governance. Embedded in an evolving mode of industry self-regulation, a whole new set of information assets is emerging that implies close monitoring of users and communication practices in order to unfold its economic potential. As the case of Google Books also shows, the contract-based regime involves a redistribution of the rights that used to structure the market for cultural goods.

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