top of page
  • Writer's pictureDigital Life Initiative

DL Seminar | Copyright Accelerationism

Individual reflections by Chun-Wen Cheng and Awantika Jha (scroll below).

By Chun-Wen (Wayne) Cheng

Cornell Tech

Delving into the realm of Copyright Accelerationism, I find myself standing at the intersection of fascination and doubt. Sobel's proposal, as outlined in his draft, suggests that we should push copyright laws to their limits to expose their current impracticality and push for necessary reforms. It's a radical yet strangely logical idea, akin to suggesting that the best way to tidy up a cluttered room is to make it even messier until the chaos becomes undeniable, forcing a thorough cleanup.


Sobel vividly portrays the absurdity of copyright through examples like owning the rights to a photograph of a table with a pant leg for almost a century. It highlights the flaws in our broken system, where something so ordinary can be locked away like a treasure, hindering public use. This underscores how current copyright laws stifle creativity and hoard knowledge that could otherwise drive human progress.


His criticism of incremental-minimalism resonates with me. The struggle for a fairer copyright landscape has been a slow, inch-by-inch battle within a system favoring those it claims to safeguard. Sobel argues convincingly that this cautious approach has been ineffective, if not counterproductive, in the age of AI and generative technologies. It prompts the thought that perhaps we've been too conservative, negotiating within boundaries set by those benefiting from the status quo.


Yet, as I contemplate Sobel's proposition for copyright accelerationism, a sense of unease

lingers. Deliberately exacerbating the system's flaws to instigate change feels like fighting fire with fire—a risky move that could either lead to innovation or leave destruction in its wake. It challenges my understanding of reform, urging me to consider whether genuine progress demands a radical departure from established norms.


Furthermore, Sobel's examination of AI's impact on copyright law and the disparity between rights granted to AI and human creativity is thought-provoking. It emphasizes the importance of recognizing human learning and creativity in an era dominated by machines. The irony that AI might have more freedom to access and learn from copyrighted materials than humans is both absurd and deeply concerning.


In summary, Sobel's draft has plunged me into a whirlpool of introspection. It goes beyond

copyright laws, delving into how we value creativity, knowledge, and human effort in a rapidly evolving technological landscape. While I'm not entirely sold on accelerationism, I appreciate the wake-up call to question my intellectual complacency. It reminds me that sometimes, to find solutions, we must be open to challenging the very foundations of our beliefs, potentially uncovering a path to a more just and creative world.

By Awantika Jha

Cornell Tech

In his talk on ‘Copyright Accelerationism’, Ben Sobel critiques the modern copyright law for hindering creative expression and shows his support to copyright accelerationism.

Ben starts his talk by introducing copyright law and its critical role in protecting creators' rights.  But he also explains the effects of unconditional copyright and the impact of lengthening the copyright terms which acts as a roadblock to creativity. He then explains accelerationism as a theory that encourages speeding up changes in technology and society to bring about major economic and social changes.

Sobel then introduces us to the ‘fair use’ principles. ‘Fair use’ is a doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder, under certain conditions, for example, creating a parody of the original work. But fair use also has its limitations. Fair use doctrine does not allow creators the right to create fan-fiction or reproduce personal letters in biography. Sobel thinks the current rules aren't fit for new technologies like AI and wants a more flexible understanding of fair use that keeps up with technological progress. He advocates for a more dynamic and expansive understanding of fair use that accommodates the pace of technological innovation and supports a more open exchange of cultural and intellectual content.

After setting the context, Sobel introduces us to the idea of Copyright Accelerationism. He differentiates between techno accelerationism, which emphasizes leveraging technological advancements to challenge and potentially bypass copyright restrictions, and true accelerationism, which calls for a more fundamental overhaul of copyright laws to address their core contradictions. He suggests that true copyright accelerationism could foster an environment where intellectual property laws enhance, rather than inhibit, creative and technological progress. He believes that truly changing copyright laws can make them better support creativity and tech advancements.

In advocating for progressive copyright reform, Sobel criticizes copyright deaccelerationists for their conservative approach to copyright law, which often seeks to preserve the status quo and resist substantial changes. He argues that such resistance to reform hampers innovation and disproportionately benefits existing power structures within the creative industries. Sobel calls for a more aggressive, accelerationist approach to copyright advocacy that champions the rights of creators and consumers alike, pushing for legal frameworks that are adaptable and equitable in the face of rapid technological change.

Sobel concludes by reiterating the necessity of reimagining copyright law through an accelerationist lens, advocating for a system that not only responds to but also anticipates the challenges and opportunities presented by technological advancement. He envisions a future where copyright law serves as a catalyst for innovation and cultural development, rather than a hinderance.



Apr 10

Property damage restoration means fire damage los Angeles the restora- tion of property to a similar condition to that of the property prior to the accidental release. Restoration includes the replacement of sod, plants or concrete driveway or walkway, or the cleaning or replacement of carpet in the case of a base- ment tank.


hannah hannah
hannah hannah
Mar 21

Facing DUI charges in Loudoun can be daunting, but you don't have to navigate it alone. Our team of skilled loudoun dui lawyer is committed to protecting your rights and minimizing the impact of these charges on your life. With our experience and knowledge of Loudoun's legal system, we strive to achieve the best possible outcome for every client.

bottom of page