Chinese online literature : creative consumers and evolving business models
Purpose – The internet is transforming possibilities for creative interaction, experimentation and cultural consumption in China and raising important questions about the role that “publishers” might play in an open and networked digital world. The purpose of this paper is to consider the role that copyright is playing in the growth of a publishing industry that is being “born digital”.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper approaches online literature as an example of a creative industry that is generating value for a wider creative economy through its social network market functions. It builds on the social network market definition of the creative industries proposed by Potts et al. and uses this definition to interrogate the role that copyright plays in a rapidly-evolving creative economy.
Findings – The rapid growth of a market for crowd-sourced content is combining with growing commercial freedom in cultural space to produce a dynamic landscape of business model experimentation. Using the social web to engage audiences, generate content, establish popularity and build reputation and then converting those assets into profit through less networked channels appears to be a driving strategy in the expansion of wider creative industries markets in China.
Originality/value – At a moment when publishing industries all over the world are struggling to come to terms with digital technology, the emergence of a rapidly-growing area of publishing that is being born digital offers important clues about the future of publishing and what social network markets might mean for the role of copyright in a digital age.
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