Fiesler and Bruckman (2019)
|Fiesler and Bruckman (2019)|
|Title:||Creativity, Copyright, and Close-Knit Communities: A Case Study of Social Norm Formation and Enforcement|
|Author(s):||Fiesler, C., Bruckman, A.|
|Citation:||Fiesler, C. and Bruckman, A. (2019) Creativity, Copyright, and Close-Knit Communities: A Case Study of Social Norm Formation and Enforcement. Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact., 3,|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||15 participants were recruited from Tumblr and LiveJournal, who were thereafter interviewed to determine the social norms or unwritten rules of their respective online community. Data were then qualitatively coded and organised thematically.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||Yes|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:|
“Social norms as a regulatory mechanism often carry more weight than formal law–particularly in contexts when legal rules are gray. In online creative communities that focus on remix, community members must navigate copyright complexities regarding how they are permitted to re-use existing content. This paper focuses on one such community–transformative fandom–where strong social norms regulate behavior beyond copyright law. We conducted interviews with fan creators about their "unwritten rules" surrounding copying and remix and identified highly consistent social norms that have been remarkably effective in policing this community. In examining how these norms have formed over time, and how they are enforced, we conclude that the effectiveness of norms in encouraging cooperative behavior is due in part to a strong sense of social identity within the community. Furthermore, our findings suggest the benefits of creating formal rules within a community that support existing norms, rather than imposing rules from external sources.”
Main Results of the Study
The study finds three consistent norms in fandom communities:
• Attribution - this is strongly entrenched in fandom communities, despite lacking any legal basis in the US (the dominant perspective from online communities).
• Commerciality - fandoms carry a belief that non-commercial uses will always be fair use. However, there are some inexplicable differences between e.g. fan art (which is fine to commercialise) and fan fiction (which is not fine to commercialise).
• Secrecy - the fandom tries to not draw attention to the community for fear of legal action (though may also be related to social stigma).
The study finds that norms can emerge organically within the community and are usually adopted by newcomers through observation (such as the widespread use of disclaimers). Occasionally, these rules are formalised in e.g. FAQs, which may be in tension with terms of service. Norms also tend to be adopted more quickly and strongly where there is a stronger social identity and bonding within the community. The community may in turn enforce these rules by sanctions such as e.g. public shaming or ostracisation.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The study does not make any explicit policy suggestions.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Fans|
|Period of material under study:|