conducive to ITCP work. The issue of funding from governments and private philanthropy is discussed in Chapter 8.1


ITCP work builds on the cumulative record of social and cultural discourse, scholarship, and scientific debate and discovery. Simple and direct access to this record can greatly facilitate the production of creative work. Governments recognize the importance of this dependence in cultural, artistic, technical, and/or scholarly accomplishment. Intellectual property laws are fashioned with a careful balance of interests in mind—a balance that includes the interests of those who produce creative and intellectual work, those who wish access to it, and those who mediate between the producers and the users.

However, the advent of digital content and networks has upset this balance, which was crafted substantially for a world of physical artifacts, not electronic bits (see Box 7.1). Some suggest that the balance is skewed, and, in particular, that the balance has shifted in favor of commercial interests. Whether this shift has indeed taken hold can be debated,2 but no one can deny that the interests of commercial content producers and distributors are well represented and highly visible in the public debate. Recently, however, other viewpoints are gaining prominence, through the work of scholars such as Lawrence Lessig.3

Capability in the creative use of IT needs to be understood as growing from the fertile soil of a common culture containing past creativity, ever more encoded in digital artifacts, and the nurturing of social processes, ever more mediated through IT networks, that make deep knowledge of this past creativity possible. The real choices available to individual ITCP practitioners in defining how their work circulates socially constitute an effective dimension of their creative freedom.4 However, the mediation by networks raises new questions


There are, of course, other public policy issues that have varying impact on ITCP work, such as the concentration of the mass-media industries and the role and impact of international organizations (some of which is discussed in Chapter 8 under the rubric of funding). The committee focused its attention on the set of public policy issues that it sees as most important to ITCP work and for which the committee is capable of providing specific commentary.


See Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB), National Research Council (NRC), 2000, The Digital Dilemma: Intellectual Property in the Information Age, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.


See, for example, Lawrence Lessig, 2001, The Future of Ideas, Random House, New York.


Michael Shapiro makes the important argument that while Americans usually do not think of their nation as having a cultural policy (since it prefers private over public funding models), in fact intellectual property regulation is precisely that—a politically

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