False Sovereigns and Poor Stewards: Why Copyright Law Should Liberate the Transformative Author

Posted: 5 Jan 2018

See all articles by Johan David Michels

Johan David Michels

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law - Centre for Commercial Law Studies

Date Written: September 2, 2015

Abstract

Copyright law should permit authors to take substantial parts of existing copyrighted works in order to create new, transformative works, provided they compensate the author of the original work. Compensation should equal that portion of the new work’s value which can be attributed to the part taken from the original work. Such free transformative use accords with copyright’s underlying Kantian, Lockean, utilitarian, and Kantian-Habermassian theories. It respects the transformative author’s Kantian autonomy in self-expression and her Lockean right to the fruits of her labour. Moreover, enabling decentralised, non-market peer production to emerge alongside commercial offerings may be more efficient than right-holder-coordinated, vertically integrated production. Free transformative use further bolsters critical and reflective communications which reflect on and critique dominant ideologies, cultures, and traditions.

Keywords: Copyright, Transformative use, Self-expression, Decentralised peer production

JEL Classification: K11, K20, K30, O31, O34, O38, P14

Suggested Citation

Michels, Johan David, False Sovereigns and Poor Stewards: Why Copyright Law Should Liberate the Transformative Author (September 2, 2015). Boston University journal of Science and Technology Law, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2015, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3095479

Johan David Michels (Contact Author)

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law - Centre for Commercial Law Studies ( email )

67-69 Lincoln's Inn Fields
London, WC2A 3JB
United Kingdom

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