'No man is an island': Why the 'Solitary Genius' Is a Too Narrow Approach on Creativity in a Digital Context

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Stefan Larsson


This article focuses on the notion of creativity found in copyright law, which is opposed to the ways in which creativity seems to develop in daily practice; the idea of a ‘solitary genius’ is thus contrasted to that of a contextually and culturally dependent creator. Copyright is arguably too focused on the former image and fails to acknowledge or embrace the latter. In addition, the digital context which is also taken into account has contributed in many ways to broadening our views on creative practices and collective collaboration. The norm perspective found in the discipline of Sociology of Law, which is the theoretical support of our analysis, is of relevance not only to studies of norms in relation to creativity but also to those approaches the objective of which is to highlight the ways in which many legal concepts have been both challenged as well as trans formed and expanded in the attempts to regulate the digital domain. Finally, the analysis also shows that new expressions and metaphors are formed in an attempt to grasp and capture the new social and creative practices in an online context, while traditional concepts may suffer a ‘conceptual lock-in’.

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How to Cite
Larsson, S. “’No Man Is an island’: Why the ’Solitary Genius’ Is a Too Narrow Approach on Creativity in a Digital Context”. Linguaculture, vol. 3, no. 2, Dec. 2012, pp. 117-26, doi:10.47743/lincu-2012-3-2-279.
Author Biography

Stefan Larsson, Lund University, Sweden

Stefan Larsson, LLM, SM, Licentiate in Technology in Spatial Planning and PhD in Sociology of Law from Lund University. He currently holds a postdoctoral position at the Department for Sociology of Law at Lund University, and has written a number of publications on metaphor theory in relation to law and
norms, such as Metaphors and Norms – Understanding Copyright Law in a Digital Society (2011), but also what the Internet means in terms of social and legal change, for example in relation to copyright, file sharing and online anonymity, in journals such as New Media & Society (2012), Policy and Internet (2010) and Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies (2012). He is member of the Cybernorms research group, participates and contributes to projects on open data as well as on cyber security, an education program on Social Innovation in a Digital Context and a project on Swedish wind power regulation. In October 2012 he received the Podgógecki Prize as an “emerging socio-legal
scholar”, delivered by the Research Committee of Sociology of Law (RCSL) of the International Sociological Association.