Saturday, 28 December 2013

Gendered Conceptions of Credit and Reward are Written Into The Structures of Intellectual Property Law


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Structural economic inequity in the US is well documented — women earn 77% of what men earn on average, make up 57% of the population living in poverty, and constitute only 4% of Fortune 500 CEOs. The benefits of corporate favoritism clearly favor men, and in specific industries where copyright plays a role, the benefits of IP protection are also awarded disproportionately. The USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism noted earlier this year that in 2012, only 16.7% of key directing, writing, or producing positions on the top hundred box-office hits went to women. In the field of cultural production I track, comics — where copyright is not always guaranteed to a creator — things are bleaker: no more than 12% of paid content-producing work went to female artists in 2011. (That’s in the work-for-hire-heavy corporate world, too: in independent comics, women got 10% of paid gigs or less.) Hiring factors are, of course, a contributing factor to our findings that, despite making up around 46% of the industry in 2012, female artists earned on average 29% of what male artists did, while trans* and non-binary artists earned less than 4%.

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While feminine production is devalued, consumable images of women are overvalued, in an eerily consistent outcome of IP policy. The Copyright Act of 1976 betrays, like its predecessors, a perceptible bias for traditionally masculine modes of production, fostering an environment where masculine producers are reinscribed in the cultural imaginary, and feminine figures presented as commodity when presented at all. This legal distinction has had the effect of making more of the work that more men do more eligible for protection — valued — under US law. Yet these laws define and foster further conditions for cultural production, and therefore culture, giving shape and form and color to the material we use to create our very values system.

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Full Article / Author / Source: Degendering Value by Anne Elizabeth Moore at Jacobin Mag

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