The History and Future of the Book

Essay Topics #2

University of Saskatchewan
Department of English
English 204.6

Professors Cooley and Muri


Due: November 23
Length: approximately 2000 words
Instructions: Write on one of the topics below:

  1. Formulate a thesis on copyright and the Internet. In order to adequately address these issues, you will first need to investigate and explain the concept of intellectual property. Then, explain how Internet distribution (p2p networking, bittorrent filesharing, etc.) might lead to redefinition of intellectual property. What you need to consider here is how copyright law is based on a material print form: does the electronic environment change the ways in which we might consider "ownership" of texts?

  2. You are a producer of creative work (whether music, poetry, fiction, machinima, or visual art, etc.). Do some research on Creative Commons licensing ( Explain the advantages and disadvantages of the various types of CC licenses (linked from and then explain which one might suit your needs as a creator, and why. Alternatively, explain why none might. Defend your choice, using specific examples and details from your research.

  3. "Remix" culture is not a unique product of electronic technology; it is the electronic version of a traditional oral storytelling technique. Compare and contrast one of the "digressions" in Beowulf and one modern example of creative transformation of an existing work of art (literary, visual or musical). What sort of relationship does each artist (the Beowulf poet and the modern remix artist) establish with "tradition" through his or her art?

  4. Rap and hiphop are often presented as modern examples of oral poetry. Does this portrayal stand up to critical scrutiny? Defend your thesis by analyzing one historically significant rap/hiphop song using Ong's account of the "psychodynamics of orality" (include a CD or MP3 file of the song with your submission).


The usual policies concerning overdue essays, citation style, plagiarism, etc. apply.