Digital Natives & Creative Rights

Prof. John Palfrey

Harvard law professor John Palfrey, co-author of Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives, describes "digital natives" as children who were born into and raised in the digital world. Digital natives may not think twice about using a peer-to-peer file system to illegally download a copy of an album or film, yet they still care about the rights of their favorite artists and want creative people to be able to earn a living from their work.

In their article, Youth, Creativity, and Copyright in the Digital Age, Prof. Palfrey and his colleagues examine how young people understand the relationship between digital creativity and copyright law. The results of a qualitative research study show that "young people operate in the digital realm overwhelmingly ignorant of the rights, and to a lesser degree the restrictions, established in copyright law."

The authors argue for the need to educate digital natives about copyright law, "empowering young people as actors in society, both in terms of their ability to contribute to cultural knowledge and creative practices and to engage in the laws that govern society."

You can find a complete listing of Prof. Palfrey's articles in DASH here.