You can download a copy of my dissertation (defended June 15, 2015) here: The Role of Copyright in Online Creative Communities: Law, Norms, and Policy. This work is licensed under a CC-BY-NC license, so feel free to distribute as you like, no permission required. (Though if you decide to set it to some great dance beat, I would love to know about it.) Please privilege citing my published papers over this dissertation where possible. Much of the research described in this dissertation was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Many sources of rules govern our interactions with technology and our behavior online—law, ethical guidelines, community norms, website policies—and they do not always agree. This is particularly true in the context of content production because copyright law represents a collection of complex policies that often do not always account for the ways that people use and re-use digital media. Within legal gray areas, people make decisions every day about what is allowed, often negotiating multiple sources of rules. How do content creators make decisions about what they can and cannot do when faced with unclear rules, and how does the law (and perceptions of the law) impact technology use, creativity, and online interaction? Combining in-depth interviews, large-scale content analysis, and surveys, my work examines the complex relationship between law, site policy, norms, and technology. This dissertation provides a better understanding of how content creators engage with copyright and how norms organically form within communities of creators. It concludes with a set of design and policy recommendations for online community designers to help better support current practices among content creators.
This work by Casey Fiesler is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.