A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

New scholarship - replacing copyright

[JURIST] New and interesting papers Friday on SSRN include:

Authorship Without Ownership: Reconsidering Incentives in a Digital Age [abstract]
by Diane Zimmerman [faculty profile] of New York University School of Law [official website]
From the Abstract: "This article examines some of the proposed alternatives that would radically restructure the relationship between authors and their audiences. These would replace traditional copyright with direct payment by the public to an author. The author in turn would release the work, retaining thereafter few, if any, rights to control future uses or reproduction of the work. In reviewing these proposals - which, in addition to their emphasis on one-shot sales of rights, seem to contemplate a strategy for releasing longer works like books in parts rather than as an entirety - an intriguing similarity emerged. This sounded like the process by which novels were produced in nineteenth century England. Authors at that time were typically paid a lump sum for their work, and gave up any right to control their use or distribution in the future. (Copyright, in the sense of exclusive rights over time, was largely a benefit to publishers, not authors.) Interestingly, too, nineteenth century novels were commonly issued initially in serial form. The existence of these parallels led to an investigation of history as a source of possible insights into whether a system that dispenses with traditional publishers and with copyright itself, could work."

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