Conceptions in the Code: What “The Copyright Wars” Tell Us About Creativity, Social Change and Normative Conflicts in the Digital Society

Stefan Larsson


This article theoretically analyses via scholarly literature the consequences of how the networked technology, the Internet is conceptualised. The Internet, as argued here, can be understood in many ways, in the sense that the digital environment is very much dependant on metaphors and conceptual loans to be spoken and thought of. This affects our behaviour and social norms and forms a number of legal challenges emerging in the transition from pre-digitalisation to digitalisation. The objective of the article is to understand digitalisation and social change better, including legal dilemmas, from a conceptual metaphor perspective; hence the article is looking for conceptions “in the code”. In order to do this, three main topics around which the analysis circles, are chosen: 1) conceptions of the Internet and how metaphors control what we think of it; 2) the role of digital technology in creating a gap between law and social norms: the example of copyright; and, 3) legal conceptions of creativity challenged in a digital context. This means that the article opens a multidisciplinary dialogue between the cognitive theory and the sociology of law, which here, for example, relates to studies in culture and technology, in order to speak of legal and social issues related to digitalisation.


Internet; metaphors; conceptions; copyright; code; creativity; social change

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236