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Thesis Project

Masters of Art in Liberal Studies thesis project, “Backward C Inside a Circle: Free Culture in Zines

Abstract

Although zines made today utilize many forms of antiquated technologies such as the typewriter and the photocopier in their construction, they are a part of contemporary tinkering with intellectual property. This thesis examines free culture as it has been expressed in self-published zines made in the last thirty-five years. It looks at the licenses found in zines as conversations between a zine maker and a zine reader. Beyond just the legal implications, the cultural and ethical effects of licensing a zine are explored.

The internet is not the only place where people have played with intellectual property and toyed with alternatives to copyright. Outside thinking about digital copying, this thesis highlights ways that the use and remixing of the others’ work in print is a part of the free culture movement. It looks beyond the technological to uncover other forms of anti-copyright activism.