The Copyright Term for Corporate-Authored Works: Averting the Menace of the Dog in the Manger
12 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2019
Date Written: November 26, 2019
The Copyright Act, 2001 adopts, on one hand, a utilitarian approach and stipulates definite copyright terms for copyrightable works. On the other hand, the Act enshrines the concept of corporate authorship which confers authorship upon corporations possessed of perpetual existence. These two parallels pose a legal conundrum in which corporations, as authors, may claim perpetual copyright thus defeating the copyright term contemplated under the Copyright Act. This paper therefore contends that when copyrights are conferred upon corporate authors possessed of perpetual existence, there is an imminent risk of such corporations turning into the proverbial ‘dogs in the manger’ who may endeavour to perversely interfere with the affordable use and dissemination of previously published works.
Keywords: Corporate authorship, Copyright term, Copyright Act 2001
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