Creativity in Feist
This paper approaches U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Feist vs. Rural (1991) from an information science perspective, rather than focusing on its legal aspects . Analogies are found between concepts in the widely circulated public discourse of Feist and distinctions between forms of mental labor recently introduced to information science. The delineation of the absence of creativity in Feist is analogous to syntactic mental labor and the judgment's criteria for creativity can be encompassed by semantic labor. The validity and significance of the distinction between syntactic and semantic mental labor is supported by the discovery of corresponding concepts in the judgment.
Julian Warner teaches information science and information policy in the Management School at the Queen's University, Belfast, and has been a visiting scholar here. He is interested in the history of information and of information technology. His forthcoming book Human Information Retrieval will the first in the new MIT Press series on the History and Theory of Information Science.