Prometheus: Vol 17, No 2 (1999)

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Technology Paradigms and the Innovation—Appropriation Interface: An Examination of the Nature and Scope of Plant Breeders’ Rights
Pages: 125-138


Technological change is crucial for the continued socio-economic development of a country. A number of factors underpin a society’s ability to foster continuous technological change, one of which is necessarily the conditions for appropriability. These have become increasingly important since the location of technological change remains largely in the hands of organised research centres housed in large corporations. This paper examines a selection of the issues that interface between innovation and appropriability in the case of plant breeding. This industry has only lately become a subject of study, following the increasing industrialisation of farm-related activities, the technological restructuring of breeding through biotechnology, and the enhancement of the scope of intellectual property rights (IPR) in plant breeding.

The Impact of Visual Communication Innovations on the Film Industry
Pages: 139-151


This paper examines the impact of visual networking technologies and communication innovations within the film industry. The researchers investigated companies designing and implementing uses for the new systems within the manufacturing cycles of film production. The project selected two case studies, one from the advertising industry and one from a large scale Hollywood feature film, to examine emerging benefits and issues for companies innovating in this area. The research found that this new area of technological change is impacting on international divisions of cultural labour by affecting decisions concerning facility location, collaborative work practices, and the scheduling of production activities. The findings identified a number of economic and social advantages for companies who adopt the systems. However, they also revealed characteristics about the industry and innovation which would act to inhibit the rate of adoption.

Fascinated by the Future: Interpreting Australian Telecommunications Policy Debates
Pages: 153-162


Rhetoric about the future has been a prominent theme in many areas of discussion about technology and change. As societies enter periods of change and uncertainty there is a growing need to deal with the future. This has been the case in the area of telecommunications policy in Australia but this feature of discourse is often taken for granted or not seen as problematic. This paper has two goals. First, it aims to analyse the significance of discourse about the future. This significance has a long historical precedent but it is intimately tied up with the notion of progress and technology. It has political ramifications since it functions to shore up expectations around specific interests—usually those of powerful corporations and governments. Second, it aims to relate the analysis about the future to recent Australian debates in telecommunications policy. Since many countries have been swept up in the enthusiasm for a telecommunications-based future, lessons from Australia may be very relevant. It is argued that some groups (users and consumer groups) would appear not to have had their expectations met in the areas of competition and universal service. In spite of this, some of Telecom Australia’s views expressed in the 1975 planning exercise Telecom 2000 seem remarkably prescient today. This seeming paradox is discussed in terms of discourse on the future. A future based on an over reliance on technological or managerial determinism may well lock the country into a future of limited choice. It will be important that mechanisms are established to ensure that appropriate and timely choices can be made in telecommunications policy.

The Changing Location of Intellectual Property Rights in Music: A Study of Music Publishers, Collecting Societies and Media Conglomerates
Pages: 163-186


This article reports the results of a major study, conducted between 1996 and 1999, examining the impact of de-regulation and digital technologies on the global music industry. We analyse four negotiations in the process of bringing music to the world market: commodification, globalisation, delivery, and royalty management. We show that the location of intellectual property rights in this process depends on the mutual bargaining power of the parties involved, within a statutory frame vesting music copyright initially in the author. We describe the forces which have led to the appropriation of rights accounting for 80% of global publishing and recording revenues by only five companies: EMI (UK), Bertelsmann (Germany), Warner (US), Sony (Japan) and Universal (Canada). We predict that this regime will not last and consider the likely future location of intellectual property rights in music.

Management of Basic Research and Development: Lessons from the Australian Experience
Pages: 187-197


Management of science and related basic research and development by the state is not a new phenomenon. In this paper it is argued, on the basis of recent Australian experience, that the conventional approach which assumes that the research community is a simple system is deeply flawed. Specifically, it is argued that any pattern of government funding which assumes linear relationships between funding and scientific outputs is unlikely to be productive. Further, it is suggested that a quantitative approach to research management is counter-productive to innovation. A range of ideas is used in developing a more productive set of policies for basic research and development.

Internet Advertising: An Assessment of Consumer Attitudes
Pages: 199-209


Given the increasing popularity of the Internet as a medium to convey advertising messages, limited empirical research has been published concerning Internet consumers’ attitudes to advertising on the Internet. This paper investigates consumer attitudes to Internet advertising, and specifically focuses on Internet users’ beliefs and attitudes about Internet advertising. Based on a primary structure of beliefs and attitudes about advertising, the research identified the existence of relationships between Internet users’ attitudes towards advertising and their online experience, and a strong negative attitude to advertising in general and the societal effects of advertising, in particular.

Review article
Opening the Closed World of the Cold War and American Nuclear Strategy
Pages: 211-224


It is argued in this paper that the closed world of computer simulations and nuclear games which Edwards describes is an imaginary place. Indeed, Edwards’ closed world is a caricature of the real world of Cold War and American nuclear strategy. His account of the imaginary world and its development draws on and perpetuates the folklore of Cold War and American nuclear strategy. The folklore, which fails to acknowledge the frightening realities of the strategy of nuclear deterrence, has achieved a high level of academic respectability in the United States and elsewhere. Even though Edwards does not simply accept the folklore chapter and verse, enough of it survives intact in his book to leave his history of computers in the Cold War wanting at key stages and in important respects. Because he likens nuclear war to a computer game, he seriously underestimates the grave risks and dangers that accompanied American preparations and planning for nuclear war with the Soviet Union. In the end, Edwards trivialises the deadly serious business of nuclear war planning and preparation.

Book review
Endogenous Growth Theory Philippe Aghion and Peter Howitt Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 1998, xiii+ 694 pp., US$59.95, ISBN 0-262-01166-2
Hans-fürgen Engelbrecht
Pages: 225-228

Book review
Handbuch Recht und Praxis der Telekommunikation Martin Geppert Ernst-Olaf Ruhle Fabian Schuster Baden-Baden, Germany, Nomos, 1998, 712 pp., DM 98.00, ISBN 3-7890-5020-2
Brigitle Preissl
Pages: 228-232

Book review
Parchment, Printing, and Hypermedia: Communication in World Order Transformation Ronald J. Deibert New York, Columbia University Press, 1997, xi + 329 pp., US$20.00 (pbk), ISBN 0-231-10713-7 (pbk)
Judith Bannister
Pages: 232-234

Book review
The Electronic Superhighway: The Shape of Technology and Law to Come Ejan Mackaay, Daniel Poulin and Pierre Trudel (Eds) The Hague, Kluwer Law International, 1995, xiv + 193 pp., US$97.00, ISBN 90-411-0135-7
Judith Bannister
Pages: 234-236

Book review
Invisible Crises: What Conglomerate Control of Media Means for America and the World George Gerbner, Hamid Mowlana and Herbert I. Schiller (Eds) Boulder, CO, Westview Press, 1996, viii+295 pp., US$79.00 (hbk), US$22.00 (pbk), ISBN 0-8133-2071-2 (hbk), ISBN 0-8133-2072-0 (pbk)
Barbara-Ann Butler
Pages: 236-239

Book review
The Vanishing Vision: The Inside Story of Public Television James Day Berkeley, USA, University of California Press, 1995, x + 443 pp., US$29.95, ISBN 0-520-08659-7
Barbara-Ann Butler
Pages: 240-242

Book review
Technopoles of the World: The Making of Twenty-first Century Industrial Complexes Manuel Castells and Peter Hall London, Roulledge, 1994, x + 275 pp., AU$39.95 (pbk), ISBN 0-415-10014-3 (hbk), ISBN 0-415-10015-1 (pbk)
Brian R. Morris
Pages: 242-245

Book review
The Political Economy of Communication: Rethinking and Renewal Vincent Mosco London, Sage, 1996, x+307 pp., AU$38.95, ISBN 0-8039-8561-4
Rhoda U. Reyes
Pages: 245-247

Book review
The Global Information Society William J. Martin London, Aslib, 1995, xv + 233 pp., US$32.95, ISBN 0-566-07715-9
Waller Dandridge
Pages: 248-251

Book review
Borders in Cyberspace: Information Policy and the Global Information Infrastructure Brian Kahin and Charles Nesson (Eds) Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 1997, x +374 pp., US$25.00, ISBN 0-262-61126-0
James B. Campbell
Pages: 251-255

The Nature of Information Technology Managerial Work: The Work Life of Five Chief Information Officers, Charlotte S. Stephens, Westport, USA, Quorum, 1995, vii+ 221 pp., US$49.95, ISBN 0-89930-920-8
Camtu Nguyen
Page: 257

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Ttme, Dava Sobel, London, Fourth Estate, 1996, viii+ 184 pp., £6.99, ISBN 1-85702-549-0
Page: 257

Page: 259