Date of Graduation

12-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Communication (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Communication

Advisor

Stephanie Schulte

Committee Member

Stephen A. Smith

Second Committee Member

Ron Warren

Abstract

The original purpose of copyright legislation was to grant a temporary economic monopoly to an author of a creative work. This monopoly is meant to incentivize authors to contribute to the public good with works that promote progress in science and art. However, increases in the scope and duration of copyright terms grant overly broad protections and controls for copyright owners, while advances in technology have provided the public with the potential for near-limitless access to information. This creates a conflict between proprietary interest in creative works versus the public's right and ability to access same. Efforts to balance these competing interests must consider the history and changing role of copyright in America, the role of the public domain, and how real property and intellectual property are defined in a digital world.

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