Events Calendar

Sing for the competition and go to prison

Wednesday, September 22, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Zoom (by registration)

"Sing for the competition and go to prison: The juridical dimension of entertainment industry contracting"

Presented by Matt Stahl as part of the FIMS Seminar Series 2021/2022.

Everyone is welcome. To receive the Zoom link, register with Karen Kueneman at

Abstract: The court-ordered injunction is a contractual enforcement mechanism that backs up entrepreneurs’ power to enforce exclusivity clauses and non-compete and non-disclosure agreements with the threat of criminal charges. This is more a juridical than an economic power, and it hinges on the promise to labor rather than the value of the labor. The injunction defines the worker as a seller of labor power, the entrepreneur as a buyer, and the buyer’s right in the purchased labor power as a property right: money alone cannot force an owner to sell their property, i.e. to release a worker from her promise. This presentation argues that the commodification of labor accomplished or registered by injunctive power originated as a byproduct of entrepreneurs’ demands for juridical protection from competition. It contextualizes the injunction as a non-economic instrument of contract enforcement, showing how it arose in Victorian-era cultural industries and how it remains central to entertainment and tech industry contracting.

Faculty of Information and Media Studies
Karen Kueneman

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