This is the first empirical, mixed-methods study of copyright issues that speaks to writing specialists and legal scholars about the complicated intersections of rhetoric, technology, copyright law, and writing for the Internet. Martine Courant Rife opens up new conversations about how invention and copyright work together in the composing process for digital writers and how this relationship is central to contemporary issues in composition pedagogy and curriculum.
In this era of digital writing and publishing, composition and legal scholars have identified various problems with writers’ processes and the law’s construction of textual ownership, such as issues of appropriation, infringement, and fair use within academic and online contexts. Invention, Copyright, and Digital Writing unpacks digital writers’ complex perceptions of copyright, revealing how it influences what they choose to write and how it complicates their work. Rife uses quantitative and qualitative approaches and focuses on writing as a tool and a technology-mediated activity, arguing the copyright problem is about not law but invention and the attendant issues of authorship.
Looking at copyright and writing through a rhetorical lens, Rife leverages the tools and history of rhetoric to offer insights into how some of our most ancient concepts inform our understanding of the problems copyright law creates for writers. In this innovative study that will be of interest to professional and technical writers, scholars and students of writing and rhetoric, and legal professionals, Rife offers possibilities for future research, teaching, curriculum design, and public advocacy in regard to composition and changing copyright laws.