Sing for the competition and go to prison

When and Where

Thursday, April 11, 2024 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
BL 507
Faculty of Information


Matt Stahl


Sing for the competition and go to prison - Accounting for the force of (non-IP) law in the study of cultural work

This talk proposes a genealogical account of law’s force in the relations of capitalist cultural production. It aims to shed light on the relationship of cultural labour’s legality—the state of its conformity to law—to its economic productivity—the state of its conformity to markets. Today this legal legacy reveals itself most prominently in controversy over non-
compete and non-disclosure agreements in the high tech and entertainment Industries as well as other sectors.

Dr. Stahl examines the historical basis for these sorts of contract enforcement mechanisms in a Victorian contest over a prima donna’s human capital, their coupling with creditor-debtor relations in the early 20th century sharecropping system of the U.S. South, and how, in combination, these two modes of labor control have structured professional recording
artistry since its inception.


Contact Information

Faculty of Information


Faculty of Information