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Creativity without LawChallenging the Assumptions of Intellectual Property$
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Kate Darling and Aaron Perzanowski

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479841936

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479841936.001.0001

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Subcultural Change and Dynamic Norms

Subcultural Change and Dynamic Norms

Revisiting Roller Derby’s Master Roster

(p.142) 6 Subcultural Change and Dynamic Norms
Creativity without Law

David Fagundes

NYU Press

Dave Fagundes explains how roller derby skaters once guaranteed exclusive use of the pseudonyms under which they compete. Roller derby names were initially a central part of this countercultural, all-girl sport. Despite the availability of trademark protection, skaters developed an elaborate rule structure, registration system, and governance regime to protect the uniqueness of their pseudonyms. When the norms around name exclusivity changed over time, so did the governance regime. This suggests that regardless of law, communities can develop and evolve norms systems if they are close-knit and the norms are welfare-maximizing. Communities are especially likely to rely on self-regulatory approaches, even formal ones that require substantial investment, when membership is closely linked to individual identity.

Keywords:   intellectual property, law, norms, trademark, creativity, roller derby, pseudonyms, community, subculture, incentives

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