The Author as Steward 'For Limited Times': A Review of 'The Idea of Authorship in Copyright'

22 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2008 Last revised: 23 May 2012


In THE IDEA OF AUTHORSHIP IN COPYRIGHT, Professor Lior Zemer attempts to conceptually reorganize copyright's entitlement structure by positing the public as a joint author of every copyrighted work. This Review delineates and critiques the main points of Zemer's thesis and analyzes the practical implications of his work. It then looks beyond Zemer's specific recommendations and suggests how his perspective may provide a useful basis for further scholarly contemplation. Specifically, it proposes that a different way of addressing Zemer's concern for the public domain is to denominate the colloquial author as a steward. Understanding the colloquial author as a steward of her work is consistent with the view that copyright ownership involves duties to the public as well as rights. This model facilitates the appropriate balance between public access and ownership rights because its underlying premise is that ownership rights exist to further a greater societal need.

Suggested Citation

Kwall, Roberta Rosenthal, The Author as Steward 'For Limited Times': A Review of 'The Idea of Authorship in Copyright'. Boston University Law Review, Vol. 88, 2008, Tulane Public Law Research Paper No. 08-02, The DePaul University College of Law, Technology, Law & Culture Research Series Paper No. 09-004, Available at SSRN:

Roberta Rosenthal Kwall (Contact Author)

DePaul University - College of Law ( email )

Center for Intellectual Property Law & Information
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Chicago, IL 60604-2287
United States
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