- The pirates of Nevskii Prospekt: intellectual property, piracy and institutional diffusion in Russia
- Volume | Issue number
- 40 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This article examines the circulation of unauthorized copies of music and movies in Russia—what is otherwise known as media piracy. On the basis of qualitative data, it argues that the media market in Russia is best perceived as a hybrid, where the boundaries between legal and illegal are porous and economic agents casually crisscross them. The institution of intellectual property (IP) does not present itself in a natural way to market actors in Russia, and copyright is widely contested. Following this finding, the analytical focus shifts to the process of institutional diffusion on three levels: policymaking, organization, and meaning attribution. Each level displays its own rational, organizational structure and agency, sometimes to the point of significant distortion of laws and policies that were supposed to be simply passed down. The case of the media market in Russia presents particularly interesting challenges to the rationalist thinking in institutional economics, the assumptions that instrumental rationality predominates and that categories are unproblematic. In fact, IP law and related policies configure and qualify these categories as well as the subjectivities related to them, often against the sets of relationships and obligations that already bind actors to each other.
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