Eureka! This summer, I had been hoping to find a short, authoritative passage that my first-year students this fall can read that will help them understand the transition in the United States from the folk culture that predominated up until the end of the 19th century to the mass media culture where copyright became increasingly focused on the needs of corporations in the 20th century and then finally to the current convergence culture where users are with greater frequency and skill appropriating the stories, songs, images, etc. created by corporations and working with it in a way that paralleled the world of folk culture.
Henry Jenkins’ 2006 book, Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, has a nice four-and-a-half page section (p. 139-143) that provides just the kind of thumbnail sketch I’ve been looking for. Here’s a choice quote from this section of the book:
The older American folk culture was built on borrowings from mother countries; the modern mass media builds upon borrowings from folk culture; the new convergence culture will be built on borrowings from various media conglomerates. (p. 141).