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PS 545 FALL 2010

Are you a pirate? Do you avoid using Peer-to-Peer technologies for fear of a late night visit and a hefty fine from the RIAA? Why do we even have copyright anyway? PS 545 American Political Thought explores contemporary American political thought, its formation and the ways in which it is involved in major problems of culture, political economy, ideology, community and identity. This semester, we will be exploring these issues through the politics of copyright, patent law and Digital Rights Management (DRM). During the semester we will engage around several themes in order to help us better understand this area within American political theory, including: • Exploring the History of Intellectual Property, Copyright & Patent in American Political Thought • Understanding the Legal, Political, Cultural & Technological Dimensions of Sharing • DRM, DMCRA and Other Architectural Barriers to Peer Production and the construction of an intellectual commons • The Political Economy of Property and the Commons • The Future(s) of the Internet – why Net Neutrality and the Generative Internet are more important than you may realize • The Politics of DIY, Maker Culture and the Political Economy of Commons-Based Peer Production Many of the issues we will discuss will involve some controversy, and will require you to approach them with an open mind. The goal of this course is not to indoctrinate you or to force a set of beliefs about politics, economics and copyright/patent upon you. Quite the opposite – I want to help you to build the critical political theoretical tools with which to engage this central issue in American political thought. The results are up to you. I hope you will join with us this semester in what I hope will prove to be an enlightening, engaging and provocative exploration of contemporary American political thought. Welcome to the course!

CB 201

Instructor: Dr. Christopher S. Rice Office: 122 McVey Hall Office Hours: By Appointment Twitter: @ricetopher Email: Telephone: 859.948.5390


Grades and Examinations:
Your final course grade will be based on three (3) components: • Class Preparation & Participation – 30% • Working Journal – 30% • Term Paper – 40%

Course Readings:
• • • • • •

The following texts are required reading for this course: James Boyle, The Public Domain. ISBN: 978-0-300-13740-8 Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture. ISBN: 978-0143034650. Cory Doctorow, Content. ISBN: 978-1892391810 Jonathan Zittrain, The Future of the Internet. ISBN: 978-0300151244 Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks. ISBN: 978-0300125771 Cory Doctorow, Makers. ISBN: 978-0765312815 (pbk), 978-0765312792 (HC)

All of the reading in this syllabus is REQUIRED. You should read all of the assigned material before the class period for which it is assigned and be prepared to discuss it in class. All course texts are available as free, Creative Commons-licenses PDF downloads, the links to which may be found on the course website. You are encouraged to download these texts and bring them to class on your computer, tablet, cellphone or other e-reader device. Since class time will be largely spent engaging with the assigned reading for the day, you must bring each dayʼs reading(s) to class period for which it is assigned.

Class Preparation & Participation: Because this course is designed around a
collaborative research and learning approach, attendance is absolutely necessary to your success, as well as to that of the course. You will be expected to come to each class session having completed all readings assigned for that class period and to have prepared a brief (approximately 1 page, bullet points optional) set of key points for that dayʼs readings with a few questions or provocative points to guide our dayʼs discussion. You must post this preparatory work to your working journal no later than 1 hour before each class session. Furthermore, we will be using Twitter as a “backchannel” both during and outside of class. While you are not required to Tweet in this class, you are encouraged to bring your phones or laptops to class and Tweet out comments or issues raised during the class. You are also encouraged to share links that you find useful and are placing in your Working Journal, as well as brief reactions to the scheduled course readings, while outside of class. During the semester, please use the “#ps545” hashtag when Tweeting for class. Finally, you will be graded on the both the quantity and quality of your in-class contributions to our exploration of the readings and other course materials. A rubric outlining how in-class participation will be graded will be posted on the course Blackboard site by August 30, 2010. In short, you should come prepared every day to be an active discussant in the course, arguing for your own perspectives on the course material, listening to the viewpoints and arguments of other class members and then engaging with them and the instructor in an informed, thoughtful and considerate manner. Class preparation & participation counts for 30% of your total course grade.

Working Journal: One of the key tasks for any political theorist is to reflect upon and actively
engage with key texts in their chosen subject of study. For purposes of this class, you will need to keep an ongoing reading and research journal as the home for this informal engagement with the course texts, to be contributed to prior to (and in between) each class session. I expect good grammar and spelling, but I donʼt wish you to obsess over such things – this is not to be written as a formal paper. Think of this as a space to have a “conversation” with the texts and between them, drawing in insightful outside material as warranted. You might find a few critical or provocative passages from the texts and quote these passages while critiquing their arguments or supporting them based on other readings, materials or class discussion. The platform we will be using for this assignment, Evernote (see below), makes it easy to pull


in articles or other digital artifacts from the Internet that will contribute to this conversation. Be creative with your use of the journal, but be rigorous and thoughtful as well. It will be a key lifeline as you engage with the major course topics and serve as your most valuable resource when preparing for class and constructing your term paper. I will be checking your Working Journal each Sunday evening for the weekʼs entries, so you will need to stay up-to-date with your work on this assignment. Your class preparation sheets (see above) must be entered into this journal. This is your place to store links to websites, articles, data sources, pictures, videos, etc. that are relevant to our exploration of the major course topics. You will need to bring in at minimum one outside article or artifact per course session into your Journal that is relevant to the topic of that dayʼs reading(s) and annotate it accordingly. (I also recommend Tweeting these links out as you find them to add to the class discussion). You should be certain to trace connections between the assigned readings, our class discussions and articles/artifacts that you find online related to the theoretical focus of the readings we are engaged with in class at the time. You are required to start an Evernote account, create a notebook for the course and make it shareable with me (only) by August 30. You must then begin posting your journal entries, research materials and class preparation sheets to your shared Evernote notebook by Monday, August 30, 2010. I will explain this requirement in full in class on August 25 & 27, and a rubric outlining grading criteria for the journal will be posted to the Blackboard site shortly thereafter. Your journal work will constitute 30% of your total course grade.

Term Paper: The Term Paper is your opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the course readings
and subject matter, your ability to synthesize and critically engage with them, your ability to incorporate material related to the course topics and readings that you have collected and considered in your Working Journal, and also to creatively apply the knowledge and skills you gain during the semester in a novel fashion. The Term Paper must be 3500-4000 words and, in contrast to the Working Journal, follow the style of a formal paper. Furthermore, you must incorporate references to at least five (5) other sources, which you will have collected in your Journal. The Term Paper must be completed, uploaded and placed in the appropriate digital dropbox in our Blackboard site by 3pm, December 17, 2010. Late papers will NOT be accepted. The guiding question for the Term Paper, as well as more specifics for the assignment, will be posted to the Blackboard site by October 1, 2010. The Term Paper will constitute 40% of your course grade.

Classroom Standards: I expect all students to behave in a professional manner during class
time. This means coming to class on time and being ready to start class at 1pm. It is disrespectful to me and to your fellow students to come late and disrupt class, so be on time. I will not tolerate chronic tardiness, and if you arrive to class more than 5 minutes late, you may be asked to turn around and leave. Also, unless you have obtained prior approval from me, you may not leave class early. Furthermore, I do not tolerate rude and disruptive classroom behavior. During class, refrain from engaging in non-relevant and distracting side-conversations, reading a newspaper, doing crosswords, sudoku or other puzzles/games, sleeping, non-course-related text messaging or similar cellphone use, or listening to your iPod or other .mp3 players. Laptops and other internet access devices ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED in class for accessing your textbooks, taking notes and looking up material relevant to that dayʼs work on the internet. Please do not abuse this privilege by using your Internet access device to Facebook, do email, shop online or play games. I reserve the right to dismiss from class any student in violation of these policies.

Grading: All course assignments will be graded on a 0-100 point scale.

The grading scale for the exams and papers, as well as the final course grade for undergraduate students is as follows: A = 90-


100%, B = 80-89%, C = 70-79%, D = 60-69%, and E = 0-59%. For graduate students, the grading scale for this course is as follows: A = 90-100%, B = 80-89%, C = 70-79%, E = 0-69%. The course is not graded on a “curve.”

Email Policy: You may always feel free to contact me via email. However, I do have a few general
guidelines you must follow when doing so. Always begin the subject line of an email to me with “PS 545:”. This will put your email into the appropriate inbox, allowing me to respond to your email in a timely fashion. Emails that do not have “PS 545:” at the beginning of the subject line may not receive a response. Also, emails are NOT text messages/IM communications. When emailing me you should open the email by addressing me as Dr. Rice, identifying who you are and which course you are in (and at what time the course meets), concisely providing the nature of your problem/request, and then signing off with your name. If you have followed these directions, you may expect a response within 48 hours of its receipt. If you have a pressing emergency, you should speak to me before or after class, ping me on Twitter or contact me by phone. As a final note, I will NOT provide your grades (nor discuss any personally-identifiable grade information) by email, Twitter or over the phone.

A Brief Note on Cheating & Plagiarism: Plagiarism or cheating will NOT be
tolerated in this course. If you have questions as to what constitutes plagiarism according to the University of Kentucky, please consult The University also provides tips for how to avoid plagiarism at If cheating or plagiarism is found to occur, it will be dealt with according to University Senate Rule 6.4 DISPOSITION OF CASES OF ACADEMIC OFFENSES.

Classroom and Learning Accommodations: If you have a documented disability
that requires academic accommodations, please se me as soon as possible during scheduled office hours. In order to receive accommodations in this course, you must provide me with a Letter of Accommodation from the Disability Resource Center (Room 2, Alumni Gym, 257-2754, for coordination of campus disability services available to students with disabilities.

One Last Thing – Dropping the Course: Not that I hope you choose to leave our
little soiree, but there are a couple of dates you should keep in mind should the need arise. The last day to drop this course without it appearing on your transcript is September 15, 2010. The last day to withdraw from the course is November 5, 2010.

NOTE: All items in the Course Schedule are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.
These changes will be announced in class and/or on the course website. You are responsible for all announced changes, so come to class and visit the course website often.

A History of Intellectual Property, Copyright & Patent in American Political Thought
August 27 – Boyle Ch. 1, Lessig Introduction August 30 – Benkler, Ch. 1 September 1 – Boyle Ch. 2 September 3 – Lessig Ch. 1-4 September 6 – LABOR DAY – NO CLASS September 8 – Benkler, Ch. 2 September 10 – Boyle, Ch. 3, Lessig Ch.5


Legal, Political, Cultural & Technological Dimensions of Sharing
September 13 – Benkler Ch. 3 September 15 – NO CLASS September 17 – Lessig Ch. 10 September 20 – Boyle, Ch. 4

Wrapping Up the Commons: DRM, DMCRA and Architectural Barriers to Peer Production
September 22 – Boyle Ch. 5 September 24 – Doctorow (Content) pp. 3-37, 45-50, 55-58, pp. 185-200 September 27 – TBA September 29 – TBA October 1 – Benkler Ch. 4 October 4 – Boyle Ch. 6 October 6 – Lessig Ch. 6-9, Doctorow (Content) pp. 89-93 October 8 – Boyle Ch. 7, Lessig Ch. 12

The Political Economy of Property and the Commons
October 11 – Benkler Ch. 5 October 13 – Benkler Ch. 6 October 15 – Benkler Ch. 7 (pp. 217-241) October 18 – Benkler Ch. 7 (pp. 242-272 October 20 – Benkler Ch. 8 October 22 – Benkler Ch. 10 October 25 – Boyle Ch. 8 October 27 – Benkler Ch 11 (pp. 383-418) October 29 – Benkler Ch 11 (pp. 419-459) November 1 – Benkler Ch. 12, Lessig Ch. 12 November 3 – Lessig Ch. 13 & 14

The Future(s) of the Internet
November 5 – Zittrain Intro, Ch. 1 & 2 November 8 – Zittrain Ch. 3 November 10 – Zittrain Ch. 4 November 12 – Zittrain Ch. 5 November 15 – Zittrain Ch. 6 November 17 – Zittrain Ch. 7 November 19 – Zittrain Ch. 8 November 22 – Zittrain, Ch. 9 & Conclusion

Thanksgiving Break (November 24, 26) –– NO CLASS Maker Culture and the Political Economy of Commons-Based Peer Production
November 29 – Doctorow (Makers), pp. 9-71 December 1 – Doctorow (Makers), pp. 71-144 December 3 – Doctorow (Makers), pp. 144-218 December 6 – Doctorow (Makers), pp. 221-299 December 8 – Doctorow (Makers), pp. 299-351 December 10 – Doctorow (Makers), pp. 351-416

Term Paper DUE (Friday, December 17) –3pm, Blackboard Site