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Keywords:

  • intellectual property norms;
  • Stop Online Piracy Act

Since the creation of the Statute of Anne in 1710, the development of intellectual property (IP) norms has been primarily influenced by large actors in the private sector. This influence has expanded in the twentieth century to a global scale with the emergence of a number of international treaties aimed at harmonizing IP norms. This work argues that the 18 January protests of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) marks a shift in the norm-creation process to smaller, more public-minded influencers. This shift is happening for three primary reasons. While the introduction of empirical evaluation in the IP norm creation process and the apparent ideological inconsistencies of the previous paradigm have harmed the credibility of the present IP norm influencers, the internet has afforded novel participation in the norm-creation process for a broad range of actors.