My friend Tim Wu, a legal scholar at Columbia U, has finally posted his paper "Copyright's Authorship Policy," which I read some years ago in draft. I've been assigning drafts of this paper to my students all year, because I think that Tim's captured something here that I'd never heard articulated before in all the papers about copyright I've read.
Tim's point is that copyright ends up choosing what kind of authors are allowed to make art, and which ones aren't. For example, extending copyright over sampling -- but not over reproducing distinctive licks or melodic snippets -- means that mashup artists' music is illegal, but the white skiffle and R&B artists who adapted black music for their own (the Rolling Stones, Elvis and the Beatles, for example) get to make all the music they want.
Tim goes on to suggest a simple and cunning mechanism for minimizing copyright's impact on authorship, a method that will allow the largest variety in art and expression. This is great stuff, and has been the basis of some great discussions in my classes.
For that reason, the paper introduces a new justification for authorial ownership of copyright–both the vesting of the initial copyright in authors, and for providing ways for the right to find its way back to authors.1 The argument relies on the concept of authors as agents of decentralization in the copyright system. Vesting rights in authors, the argument goes, provides new ways to seed the development of both new forms of distribution, and also support for changing modes and forms of creation. Centuries ago in England, authorial copyright helped introduce competition into bookselling, beyond an centralized publisher’s cartel. Today, there are lessons for copyright’s authorship policy in the more than five million items under Creative Commons licenses,2 the proliferation of Open Access licensing in academia, and the use of open source licenses by commercial entities like IBM and Apple. These experiments show the potential of a decentralized copyright system for promoting a full range of production modes.
Why wireless carriers should be forced into neutrality
Jack Valenti says stupid things -- really, really stupid things
Searchable index of Judge Posner's decisions - law for the people
Network neutrality - why it matters, and how do we fix it?
A simple prescription for keeping Google's records out of government hands.
Understanding broadband regulation
Killer audio file of killer lawyers talking Grokster
Where are our petabyte drives? Brian Hayes takes us through the reasons storage is “stuck” in the low terabytes. The tl;dr is that we got such exceptional capacity growth in the late 90s and early 00s we don’t need much more right now, so the focus since then has been on SSDs, networking, interfaces, etc, […]
Amélie Lamont, a former staffer at website-hosting startup Squarespace, writes that she often found herself disregarded and disrespected by her colleagues. One comment in particular, though, set her reeling — and came to exemplify her experiences there.
In this episode of the Flash Forward podcast we travel to a future where humans have decided to eradicate the most dangerous animal on the planet: mosquitos. How would we do it? Is it even possible? And what are the consequences? Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon We […]
If you or your company’s IT system are besieged by black hat cyber attacks, an ethical hacker might be all that stands between crippling damage and a company’s long-term prosperity. It’s no wonder that the market for IT security specialists is exploding. Certification is the key – so learn the tenets of ethical hacking and get […]
Your laptop and mobile devices are top of the line…so why are you trotting out that raggedy decades-old suitcase when you go somewhere? Time to up your travel game with a complete 5-piece Herschel Travel Luggage bundle…and we’ll even give it to you for free!Of course, you’ve got to win the Ultimate Herschel Travel Bundle […]