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The Work of Authorship

The Work of Authorship

Edited by Mireille van Eechoud
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 234
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  • Book Info
    The Work of Authorship
    Book Description:

    Technological and economic concerns have long been the drivers of debate about copyright. But diverse disciplines in the humanities-including literary studies, aesthetics, film studies, and the philosophy of art-have a great deal to offer if we wish to establish a more nuanced and useful conception of copyright and authorship. This volume brings together scholars from a range of disciplines to explore the challenges inherent in translating aesthetics and creativity studies to concepts of copyright, especially as longstanding approaches are troubled by the rise of the digital.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-2300-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Voices near and far Introduction
    (pp. 7-18)
    Mireille van Eechoud

    Copyright laws are important regulators of cultural expression, because they grant extensive rights to control the reproduction, adaptation and communication of ‘literary’ and ‘artistic’ works. The twin concepts of authorship and original work are central to copyright laws the world over. They might not be clearly defined, and certainly not uniformly, but they enjoy global recognition. That is evident first and foremost by the fact that the Grande Dame of international copyright law, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886/1971), has over 180 contracting states.

    One might be forgiven to think that, being concerned with...

  4. Creative work and communicative norms Perspectives from legal philosophy
    (pp. 19-44)
    Laura Biron

    In consideration of the application of insights from the humanities to the interpretation of core legal concepts in copyright, this chapter examines three questions: first, what is a ‘work of authorship’, and why does copyright law place such a strong emphasis on originality for determining what counts as a work? Second, can and should we modify ‘romantic’ conceptions of authorship, to take into account the various ways in which authorial practices seem to conflict with their highly individualistic and creator-centred focus? Finally, how might copyright law make sense of the various ways in which authorship is collaborative, in light of...

  5. Romantic authorship in copyright law and the uses of aesthetics
    (pp. 45-94)
    Erlend Lavik

    Scholars of the arts as well as scholars of copyright law – especially in the US¹ – have for decades struggled to kill off the ideology of Romantic authorship, though it is far from clear precisely what it consists of, or why and to whom it poses such danger. The situation brings to mind film historian Tom Gunning’s memorable observation in a different context that the persistent attacks ‘begin to take on something of the obsessive and possibly necrophilic pleasure of beating a dead horse’ (1998, p. xiii).

    This chapter is divided into two main parts. The first part critically examines the...

  6. Creativity, autonomy and personal touch A critical appraisal of the CJEU’s originality test for copyright
    (pp. 95-144)
    Stef van Gompel

    Copyright protects a wide range of productions in the literary, scientific and artistic domains. This not only includes cultural creations, such as works of literature, music, drama, film, photography and art, but also functional types of subject-matter, such as computer programs, databases, industrial design and works of applied art. As a rule, copyright protects works regardless of their ‘merit’ or purpose: the design of ordinary household items is eligible for copyright protection just as much as creations of ‘high’ art. The only threshold that must be satisfied for a work to attract copyright is that its expression is sufficiently ‘original’,...

  7. Adapting the work
    (pp. 145-174)
    Mireille van Eechoud

    When the Dutch government commissioned official portraits in the run-up to the investiture of Willem-Alexander as king of The Netherlands in 2013, artist Iris van Dongen was among the twelve artists asked to make a study. She based her work on a photograph she had found on the internet, without informing artist-photographer Koos Breukel, let alone asking him permission. To the average observer the similarities are striking. Van Dongen and two other artists went on to win the competition to make a state portrait of the new king. Breukel was not amused to see Van Dongen’s study exhibited in the...

  8. Reassessing the challenge of the digital An empirical perspective on authorship and copyright
    (pp. 175-214)
    Elena Cooper

    Policymakers have long noted the challenges posed by new internet and digital technologies to copyright’s category of authorship. As the European Commission expressed at the advent of the internet, in its Green Paper Copyright and Related Rights in the Information Society of 1995:

    The traditional picture of the author as a craftsman working more or less in isolation and using wholly original materials is contradicted by new forms of creation. The new products and services are increasingly the outcome of a process in which a great many people have taken part – their individual contributions often difficult to identify – and in...

  9. Creativity and the sense of collective ownership in theatre and popular music
    (pp. 215-236)
    Jostein Gripsrud

    If one asks people what they think of when hearing the expression ‘the artist at work’, the chances are overwhelmingly that they will picture a painter in front of his (rather than her) canvas or a writer alone at a desk or table where there is a piece of paper, a typewriter or a computer. What lies behind this, is of course the Romanticist idea of the artist as an individual with particular expressive needs and gifts. The simple historical fact that much or perhaps even most art has routinely been created by more than one person – from the work...

  10. Discontinuities between legal conceptions of authorship and social practices What, if anything, is to be done?
    (pp. 237-276)
    Lionel Bently and Laura Biron

    Authorship is central to the operation of copyright as a regulatory tool, but copyright law’s conception of ‘authorship’ appears to be ‘out of sync’ with a wide range of social practices: either copyright makes authors-in-law out of social ‘non-authors’, or vice versa. After offering three examples (scientific credit, conceptual art and literary editing)¹ this contribution considers why these differences have emerged and whether these discontinuities should be thought of as a matter of concern. It appraises a number of academic proposals as to what might be done about these discontinuities, and offers its own suggestion, namely, the deployment of a...

  11. About the authors
    (pp. 277-278)