Chapter four of Neil Weinstock Netanel’s essay discusses the democratic paradigm of copyright and democracy. Netanel attempts to find the link between democratic governance and civil society. The first part of the chapter discusses the role of civil society and its association with democratic governance. Shared purposes and norms identify various civil societies. Civil society plays an active role in bolstering democratic governance.
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Civil societies are participatory. They help in fostering a democratic culture. In addition, civil societies provide avenues for self-rule that are outside the control of the government. Civil societies facilitate debate and determination of various policies and social norms.
However, civil societies are not completely autonomous. Government intervention helps in sustaining the activities of civil societies. In addition, government intervention ensures that civil societies engage in activities that provide opportunities for democratic governance. The market may be a barrier to the advancement of the democratic character of civil societies. It may facilitate the development of disparities of power.
In addition, it may provide people with uneven opportunities to engage in civil life. However, the market may also play a critical role in enhancing democratic governance. It may facilitate the development of centers of power that are not under the control of the government. This helps in reducing citizen’s dependency on the state.
It is a fact that democratic governance should also be a critical component of the governance of civil societies. It would be contradictory to claim that civil societies foster democratic governance when it is clear that they do not have democratic governance in their management. The author did not provide insights on civil societies and democratic governance using this perspective.
The government uses copyright as a tool that enables government institutions to support democratic civil societies. Copyright’s production and structural functions help in supporting a democratic civil society. Copyright laws have various incentives that encourage free communication.
Electronic communication is one of the fastest developing communication mediums. It facilitates the broadcast, distribution, and transmission of millions of works of original authors. Democracy enables people who have high rhetorical skills to acquire the greatest share of political power. Therefore, free communication is an essential component of a democratic culture. In some instances, free communication may violate copyright laws. The author did not explain how free communication may pose a serious threat to copyright.
Copyright enables authors to have a proprietary entitlement to their works. This facilitates the development of an autonomous sector that encourages the formation and distribution of novel expressions. Copyright enables creators and publishers of the novel expressions to earn financial support for their undertakings in the sector.
This enables them to cease from depending on the government or the assistance of the elite. The paying audience is the source of funds. Copyright imposes certain restrictions on the exclusive control of cultural works. This enables the government to diversify the communicative power structures without unwarranted interference on the expressive content. However, the restrictions of copyright law do not provide a neutral endpoint.
The endpoint of copyright law may signify the beginning of another proprietary right. Therefore, the restrictions may portray the ability of copyrights to enhance democracy. They enhance the democratic notion that expressions and ideas should be free for all people. The limits on the duration and scope of copyrights act as a boundary on the private control of publicly distributed expressions.