Journal of Intellectual Property Law


Over time, our concept of what qualifies as an author has changed–specifically with the dominance of the internet. Tangentially, our idea of what it means to be a joint author has changed. What once would have required physical proximity now can be accomplished via the internet in a matter of seconds. Authors from all around the globe can collaborate. Geographic limitations present virtually no constraint on the number of individuals that can contribute to a work. Human creativity, however, has remained the same. When creating, authors naturally draw on their human experience. Without tailoring modern copyright law to modern trends in authorship–specifically joint authorship–indivisible copyrights granted to joint authors will produce a tragedy of the anticommons. Fear of infringement and high transaction costs will stifle creation. I argue that the statutory defenses–both in their inception and their interpretation–are inadequate to protect creators in light of this looming issue. The federal government instead should develop a statutory scheme that is designed to protect creators, such as developing a new hierarchy of protection and mandatory and permissive judicial review of copyright infringement settlements.