Author: Alex Dent

Policing the Unstable Materialities of Digital-Media Piracy in Brazil

American Ethnologist, Volume 43, Issue 3, August 2016. Descrição em Português | Full Text (English) Around the world, antipiracy NGOs train police to recognize the unauthorized use of music and films and to publicly destroy illicit CDs and DVDs. For those who enforce laws governing intellectual property (IP), music and film piracy underscores how digital reproduction can be conceived of as forgetful, inconstant, and promiscuous. In Brazil, discourses about “cleaning” (limpeza) unite incitements to greater security, more active governance, and stricter IP enforcement. Understanding the global dynamics of IP policing requires analysis of ideologies of material purity and the historicity associated with them. This ethnography of antipiracy NGOs, law enforcement, and informal economies in southern Brazil brings together the anthropologies of mediation and IP, arguing that producers and consumers of digital texts are becoming increasingly anxious about how those texts circulate. [intellectual property, policing, piracy, materiality, digital media, NGOs, Brazil] Português: Em todo o mundo, ONGs anti-pirataria capacitam as polícias para que estas reconheçam a utilização não autorizada de música e filmes e para que destruam publicamente CDs e DVDs ilícitos. Para aqueles que fazem cumprir as leis que regulam a propriedade intelectual (PI), a pirataria de música e filmes evidencia como a reprodução digital pode ser concebida como esquecida, inconstante e promíscua. No Brasil, discursos sobre limpeza unem incitamentos a uma maior segurança, uma governança mais activa, e...

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IP in Practice: Filtering Testimony at the United States Trade Representative

Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. Volume 23, Issue 2, pages E48–E65, August 2013 Abstract:  Policy is made in small-scale situations mediated by language. This article examines the ways in which the United States Trade Representative establishes a mandate by esoterically interpreting canonical texts and then using that mandate to filter testimony. Its goal is to maintain a watch list of countries that disrespect intellectual property. This involves managing intertextual relations in ways that efface some perspectives and highlight others, while creating three subjectivities: industry, public interest, and foreign governments. The end result is a policy document of markedly partial epistemology that combines direct citation of industry statements with obscure pronouncements that lack empirical basis.  The article concludes by considering the ways in which policy-makers modulate between specificity and non-specificity in order to build their authority. In this case, as in others, this authority supports corporations over public-interest groups. The full paper is available here: Please contact me if your institution does not have access to the journal (asdent at gmail)....

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