Copyright Policy and the Problem of Generalizing

6 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2015 Last revised: 24 Jul 2015

Eva E. Subotnik

St. John's University School of Law

Date Written: July 21, 2015


We have heard a variety of concerns expressed by professional authors, artists and performers. But one of the toughest aspects of determining how to make the copyright system work better is generalizing about what is and is not working. In these brief remarks, I identify three areas that demonstrate this difficulty: (1) the issue of identifying the kinds of creative activity — that is, authorship — that should properly be the focus of the copyright system; (2) the issue of evaluating copyright law’s application to the Internet, which is both a catalyst for and detractor from profitable authorship; and (3) the issue of framing the costs of enforcing copyright interests. The main thing I underscore is that a one-size-fits-all approach to copyright does not seem to serve the cause of individual professional authors. In that regard, legal initiatives that assist in differentiating among categories of authors and owners may be useful.

Keywords: Copyright, Generalizing, Authorship, Enforcement

Suggested Citation

Subotnik, Eva E., Copyright Policy and the Problem of Generalizing (July 21, 2015). 38 COLUM. J.L. & ARTS 375 (2015); St. John's Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-0017. Available at SSRN:

Eva E. Subotnik (Contact Author)

St. John's University School of Law ( email )

8000 Utopia Parkway
Jamaica, NY 11439
United States
718-990-3296 (Phone)

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