Amy Landers, ‘Where Code is Chaos: Content Platforms and Algorithmic Incentives’

ABSTRACT
This Article considers the intersection of the piracy paradox in the context of the attention economy, the algorithmic behavior of content platforms, and intellectual property’s incentive theory. This inquiry is framed by a micro-history of a micro-dispute between two micro-celebrities about a color-block sweatshirt design of debatable originality. Because purchases are largely made to engage and support the creator as interactive communication, the arguments for legal protection for influencer merchandise are weak. Therefore, this field appears to be an ideal space for the operation of the piracy paradox.

This conclusion might be persuasive if anti-copying norms or other considerations minimized copying incentives. However, such norms are fragile in this space for a number of reasons. Aggravating this, YouTube’s algorithm pushes influencers toward conflict to strengthen engagement and their digital reputations. This leads to a difficult circumstance where low-IP goods can result in high-profile disputes that remain unresolved. Together with the fact that there are few norm entrepreneurs who articulate, disseminate, and enforce collective understandings against copying, the platform’s dynamics narrow the possibility that such norms will develop effectively.

Landers, Amy L, Where Code is Chaos: Content Platforms and Algorithmic Incentives (June 8, 2021). Cardozo Arts and Entertainment Law Journal, volume 60, no 1, 2021.

First posted 2021-06-14 14:45:59

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