When Users are Authors: Authorship in the Age of Digital Media

Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, Forthcoming

Mississippi College School of Law Research Paper No. 2010-01

24 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2010

See all articles by Alina Ng Boyte

Alina Ng Boyte

Mississippi College - School of Law

Date Written: January 30, 2010

Abstract

This Article explores what authorship and creative production means in the digital age. Notions of the author as the creator of the work provided a point of reference for recognizing ownership rights in literary and artistic works in conventional copyright jurisprudence. The role of the author, as the creator and producer of a work, has been seen as distinct and separate from that of the publisher and user. Copyright laws and customary norms protect the author’s rights in his creation to provide the incentive to create and allow him to appropriate the social value generated by his creativity as recognition of his contribution towards society. By initially protecting the rights of authors in literary and artistic works as a property right, copyright laws facilitated market transfers of private rights and directed use of these works towards the most socially beneficial uses. This Article proposes that in the digital age, when users of literary and artistic works are increasingly becoming authors themselves, the notion of authorship connects the original author with the work in a market characterized by an abundance of derivative works and remixes by providing a mark of identification. The notion of authorship in the digital age attributes individual and collaborative contributions to the pool of information back to their respective authors. This Article proposes that the networked economy may be sustained in a world where digital technologies facilitate the free flow of information if good works of authorship are rewarded by attributing the original author of the work and authentic works of authorship by responsible authors become an expected norm. Recognizing authorship and protecting ownership rights in the digital age, where open platform technologies and peer production create a plethora, rather than a paucity, of literary and artistic works, is a simple and cost-effective way for the law to address this question of sustainability by acknowledging the moral and ethical components of communal and collaborative production. This Article suggests that recognizing authorship and protecting ownership rights in literary and artistic works in the digital age promotes, rather than restrain, creative activity.

Keywords: Copyright, Property, Author's Rights, Authorship in the Digital Age

JEL Classification: K11, O31, O34

Suggested Citation

Ng, Alina, When Users are Authors: Authorship in the Age of Digital Media (January 30, 2010). Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, Forthcoming , Mississippi College School of Law Research Paper No. 2010-01, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1545005

Alina Ng (Contact Author)

Mississippi College - School of Law ( email )

151, East Griffith Street,
Jackson, MS 39201
United States
(601) 925 7176 (Phone)
(601) 925 7113 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://law.mc.edu/faculty/directory/ang

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