Cory Doctorow and Rebecca Giblin discuss “Chokepoint Capitalism.”
BOOK DISCUSSION DETAILS
Tuesday, September 27, 2022 – 7:00pm
Beverly Hills Library Auditorium
444 N. Rexford Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
About the Author:
Rebecca Giblin is an ARC Future Fellow and Associate Professor within Monash University’s Law Faculty. Her work sits at the intersection of law and culture, exploring how regulation (particularly copyright) impacts the creation and dissemination of our artefactual heritage. Her two books take new lenses to cultural challenges, using them to disentangle seemingly intractable problems.
‘Code Wars’ (2011) develops a compelling new theory to explain why a decade of ostensibly successful litigation failed to reduce the number, variety or availability of P2P file sharing applications – and highlights ways the law might need to change if it is to have any meaningful effect in future.
‘What if we could reimagine copyright?’ (ed, with Professor Kimberlee Weatherall, 2017) poses a radical thought experiment: what if we could start with a blank slate, and write ourselves a brand new copyright system? What if we could design a law, from scratch, unconstrained by existing treaty obligations, business models and questions of political feasibility? Would we opt for radical overhaul, or would we keep our current fundamentals? Which parts of the system would we jettison? Which would we keep? In short, what might a copyright system designed to further the public interest in the current legal and sociological environment actually look like? By asking these questions, a team of experts from around the world shine new light on problems with the existing system – and highlight new possibilities for achievable reform.
Giblin is currently leading two major multidisciplinary research projects – see authorsinterest.org and elendingproject.org.
About the Book:
A call to action for the creative class and labor movement to rally against the power of Big Tech and Big Media
Corporate concentration has breached the stratosphere, as have corporate profits. An ever-expanding constellation of industries are now monopolies (where sellers have excessive power over buyers) or monopsonies (where buyers hold the whip hand over sellers)—or both.
In Chokepoint Capitalism, scholar Rebecca Giblin and writer and activist Cory Doctorow argue we’re in a new era of “chokepoint capitalism,” with exploitative businesses creating insurmountable barriers to competition that enable them to capture value that should rightfully go to others. All workers are weakened by this, but the problem is especially well-illustrated by the plight of creative workers. From Amazon’s use of digital rights management and bundling to radically change the economics of book publishing, to Google and Facebook’s siphoning away of ad revenues from news media, and the Big Three record labels’ use of inordinately long contracts to up their own margins at the cost of artists, chokepoints are everywhere.
By analyzing book publishing and news, live music and music streaming, screenwriting, radio and more, Giblin and Doctorow deftly show how powerful corporations construct “anti-competitive flywheels” designed to lock in users and suppliers, make their markets hostile to new entrants, and then force workers and suppliers to accept unfairly low prices.
In the book’s second half, Giblin and Doctorow then explain how to batter through those chokepoints, with tools ranging from transparency rights to collective action and ownership, radical interoperability, contract terminations, job guarantees, and minimum wages for creative work.
Chokepoint Capitalism is a call to workers of all sectors to unite to help smash these chokepoints and take back the power and profit that’s being heisted away—before it’s too late.