Sarikakis, Krug and Rodriguez-Amat (2017)
|Sarikakis, Krug and Rodriguez-Amat (2017)|
|Title:||Defining authorship in user-generated content: Copyright struggles in The Game of Thrones|
|Author(s):||Katharine Sarikakis, Claudia Krug, Joan Ramon Rodriguez-Amat|
|Citation:||Sarikakis et al., Defining authorship in user-generated content: Copyright struggles in The Game of Thrones, new media & society 2017, Vol. 19(4) p.542–p.559. Available at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1461444815612446|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Data were obtained from 800 pages of forum discussions from Game of Thrones fandom website westeros.org. User discussions were analysed through Atlas.ti. software on a line-by-line basis, focussing on uses of “author”. Combined with the use of grounded theory, the data shows three main logics behind seven codes: community building, creation process and industrious profitmaking.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
"The notion of authorship is a core element in antipiracy campaigns accompanying an emerging copyright regime, worldwide. These campaigns are built on discourses that aim to ‘problematize’ the issues of ‘legality’ of content downloading practices, ‘protection’ for content creators and the alleged damage caused to creators’ livelihood by piracy. Under these tensions, fandom both subverts such discourses, through sharing and production practices, and legitimizes industry’s mythology of an ‘original’ author.However, how is the notion of authorship constructed in the cooperative spaces of fandom? The article explores the most popular fandom sites of A Song of Ice and Fire,the book series that inspires the TV-show Game of Thrones and argues that the notion of authorship is not one-dimensional, but rather consists of attributes that develop across three processes: community building, the creative and the industrial/production process. Here, fandom constructs a figure of the ‘author’ which, although more complex than the one presented by the industry in its copyright/anti-piracy campaigns, maintains the status quo of regulatory frameworks based on the idea of a ‘primary’ creator."
Main Results of the Study
Fan communities replicate the status quo of copyright frameworks by reinforcing the notion of a primary creator (in this case author G.R.R. Martin). These communities often revere the creator, which in turn legitimises their authority, even to the exclusion of the fan community’s own efforts. For example, the westeros.org forum enforces the primary creator’s stance against fanfic, even to the exclusion of hypothetical scenario passages (which speculate on an alternative course of events form the primary text). Many of the justifications echo concepts embedded in copyright, such as rewarding the process of creation, having authority over ones work, and the notion of a primary property owner. In short, the fan community reinforces the myth of the romantic author by suppressing and confronting any challenge to the creative process of the primary creator.
Whilst fans may in themselves be authors (e.g. of fan art etc.) they view their actions instead as a reward that allows them to become prosumers/produsers, rather than an author. Whilst these actions are welcomed, communities strictly enforce a non-monetisation rule, with any commercial activities immediately banned.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Whilst the study does not offer any explicit policy recommendations, the findings sugget that reinforcement of laws concerning the field of fan-generated content is not necessary. The existing practices in the forums have a sufficent regulatory effect on the creation of user-generated content without external enforcement.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Pages of Discussion|
|Period of material under study:||1/03/2013-13/04/2013|