A new paper called “Do Androids Dream of Electric Free Speech?” argues that legal scholars could benefit from looking more to science fiction works when writing about concepts like copyright, censorship, and privacy. It’s an interesting paper, and spends time going into some theories of why sci-fi is relevant as well as examining the issues that the genre explores. From the article:
That said, all legal scholarship does not need to uniform, and taking some risks by creating plausible (even if not probable) hypothetical examples based on the visions of science fiction authors offers the opportunity to enhance the value of legal scholarship to the field of media and communications law. We researchers are in a position to answer questions that may not be as practical or necessary for judges and legislators today, but may very well be considered by them in the future if and when some of the projections become reality.
I had a chance to speak with the author, Daxton “Chip” Stewart, after writing about my blog post on the lack of copyright maximalist dystopian sci-fi on Twitter. I was surprised and happy to see that he ended up citing that blog post and some of the works discussed in it, as well as a post I wrote about Cory Doctorow’s Pirate Cinema. But I’d have enjoyed the paper even without the citations!