The Problem of Creative Collaboration
58 Pages Posted: 2 May 2016 Last revised: 14 Jul 2017
Date Written: March 12, 2016
In this Article, we explore a central problem facing creative industries: how to organize collaborative creative production? We identify informal rules as a significant and pervasive — but nonetheless overlooked — tool for solving that problem. While existing literature has focused on the role that informal rules play in creating incentives for the production of creative work, we demonstrate how such rules can be even more influential in facilitating and organizing collaboration in the creative space.
We also suggest that informal rules are often a better fit for organization than formal law. Unique features of creativity, especially high uncertainty and low verifiability, create organizational challenges that formal law cannot address, as demonstrated by recent high profile cases like Garcia v. Google. But certain informal rules can meet these challenges and facilitate organization where law fails to do so. We explain how informal rules functioning through mechanisms like reputation and trust can sustain an organizational solution without a manager, a hierarchical firm, or formal law allocating control rights. Finally, we sketch out the dynamics in hybrid situations of creative organization where informal rules function alongside formal law.
Keywords: copyright, intellectual property, organization, informal rules, norms, creativity, theory of the firm
JEL Classification: D21, D23, H41, K00, K11, K12, K39, L14, L22, L23, L82
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