Between Ignorance and Hope? Actors’ Perceptions of Uncertainties Related to Intellectual Property Regulations in Creative Processes in the Music and Pharma Industry

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:00
Oral Presentation
Sigrid QUACK, University Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Leonhard DOBUSCH, University of Innsbruck, Austria
Konstantin HONDROS, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Katharina ZANGERLE, University of Innsbruck, Austria
Uncertainty about intellectual property (IP) regulations is prevalent in today’s knowledge based and creative industries. In both, pharma and the music, the generation of novel and useful artefacts and products depends on inputs that are protected by either patent law or copyright. However, what inputs can be used under what circumstances and from whom they can be licensed for what purposes is often uncertain. Yet, so far very little is known about the social processes though which perceptions of regulatory uncertainty in these fields are constituted and shaped. In this paper, we address this question based on empirical research undertaken in the context of the DFG-research group “Organized Creativity – Practices of Inducing and Coping with Uncertainty.” By drawing on sociological and economic concepts of uncertainty (e.g. ambiguity (Camerer & Weber 1992; Weick 1995), substantive and procedural uncertainty (Dequech 2011)) and contrasting it with empirical evidence on perceptions of uncertainty reported in 80 interviews we conducted with a variety of actors in the pharma and music industry, we find that regulative uncertainty is far from being static or monolithic. Instead, we find actors addressing uncertainty with perceptions ranging from neglect and ignorance over strategic management to frustration and even fear. We argue that different actors (scientists, musicians, managers and IP lawyers) involved in creative processes have diverting understandings of the (regulative) uncertainties at hand. For example, IP lawyers tend to strategically frame substantive uncertainty as risks that are calculable to make them manageable whereas musicians tend to perceive the same phenomenon in less calculative categories. We show that this has a lot to do with the valuation and categorization of practices in processes of music and pharmaceutical creation. We thereby highlight the necessity to approach uncertainty as an actor framed phenomenon contextualized by field dynamics.