Monday, February 25, 2008

The Theoretical Criticism of the Romantic Notion of Inseparability of Artist and His/Her Work and Its Potential Implications for Copyright Law

This a tangent from what we need in order to complete the project at hand, but some interesting theoretical issues involved in authorship and ownership are briefly addressed in Lionel Bently's review, "Copyright and the Death of the Author in Literature and Law," of The Construction of Authorship: Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature by Martha Woodmansee; Peter Jaszi, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994, and Authorship and Copyright by David Saunders, London: Routledge, 1992, Modern Law Review, 57 (6), Nov. 1994, 973-986
...The claim that the concept of authorship in literature is intimately related to that which operates in law is principally an historical claim that copyright law, romantic authorship and the overpowering significance of the author were ‘born together’. That is, the link established in law between an author and a work, and the romantic conceptualisation of the work as the organic emanation from an individual author, emerged simultaneously at the end of the eighteenth century. The consequence of this, it is claimed (by Rose, for example), is that the literary critique of authorship threatens the intellectual foundations of copyright law. If the legal walls establishing ownership of the text were built on the same intellectual foundations as romantic authorship, and those premises turn out to be sand rather than rock, copyright will sooner or later come tumbling down...

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