Authors’ Rights Under the ‘Next Great Copyright Act’ Prof. Jane C. Ginsburg, Columbia University School of Law

copyright act

When our nation’s Founders were heading to the Continental Congress, Abigail Adams entreated husband John to “remember the Ladies.”  We know what became of that plea.  So, as the prospect of “the next great copyright act” sparks Copyright Office and PTO studies, congressional hearings, and interest-group advocacy, a sentiment of hopeful skepticism underlies my exhortation to “remember the authors.”  The U.S. Constitution authorizes Congress to secure for limited times the exclusive right ofauthors to their writings.  That right, as enacted in our copyright laws, however, has long fallen short of ensuring that authors enjoy the fruits of their intellectual labors, or even receive credit for creating them.  My wish-list for copyright reform therefore puts two hopes at the head of the agenda.  First, all authors (including “employees for hire”) should enjoy enforceable rights of attribution.  Second, and for the United States more radically, the copyright law should limit the scope of authors’ grants in order to ensure that authors are fairly remunerated.  In this column I will address the first aspiration; a later column will detail the second.

from Pocket

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