Of Authorship and Originality: Focus Workshops

Focus Workshop, 30 October 2010, Cambridge

The first workshop of the OOR project was held at the Emmanual College, Cambridge. The research team members discussed the research design with leading academics from a variety of humanities’ disciplines (music studies, film & television studies, law, philosophy, languages, information sciece).


Andrew Bennett Professor of English and Research Fellow, Department of English, University of Bristol
Georgina Born Professor of Music and Anthropology, Oxford University
John Caughie Honorary Professorial Research Fellow, University of Glasgow; Theatre, Film and Television Studie
Anne Danielsen Professor and Head of Research, Department of Musicology, University of Oslo, Norway
Jane Ginsburg Morton L. Janklow Professor of Literary and Artistic Property Law, Columbia New York
Florian Hartling Research Associate at the Department of Media and Communication Studies, Halle, Germany
Eva Hemmungs Wirten Professor in Library and Information Science, Uppsala University, Sweden
Peter Larsen Professor, Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen, Norway
Sam Ricketson Professor at Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Australia
Patrick Valiquet
Martha Woodmansee Professor of English and Law, Cape Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Research team members:

  • Lionel Bently
  • Laura Biron
  • Elena Cooper
  • Mireille van Eechoud
  • Jostein Gripsrud
  • Stef van Gompel
  • Bernt Hugenholtz
  • Erlend Lavik


Focus workshop Emmanuel College Cambridge
9.30 Welcome Lionel Bently
Introduction round
10.00 Multidisciplinary research into Authorship & Orginality Mireille van Eechoud
Infomedia project: Authorship in Collective Arts Jostein Gripsrud
10.45 Coffee break
11.00 Relationship between humanities and law as hermeneutics disciplines Erlend Lavik
12.15 Lunch
13.00 Philosophical conceptions of authorship and their impact on copyright law Laura Biron
Short Q&A
13.30 On the Mischievous Author Trope Martha Woodmansee
Short Q&A
14.00 Music and Authorship in the Age of Digital (Re)Production Anne Danielsen
Short Q&A
14.30 Tea break
14.45 Discussion: Implications for the research projects (all)
16.00 Farewell

Production Studies Workshop, 26 June 2011, Bergen, Norway

On 26 June 2011 a workshop on Production Studies was held at the Department for Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen. Academics from different backgrounds shed their light on authorship and the role of contemporary copyright. The invited experts gave talks, with much time devoted to discussion.

  • Helle Porsdam – University of Copenhagen
    Helle Porsdam’s presentation, “Of Authorship and Accountability: The Role of Copyright”, focused on the ways in which digital technologies are transforming authorial practices and notions, particularly on the internet. Drawing on the emerging discipline of digital humanities, she contrasted observations and points of view from a number of recent scholarly works, utopian as well as dystopian, such as UCLA’s Digital Humanities Manifeso 2.0, Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows, Jerome Lanier’s You Are Not A Gadget and Brian Christian’s The Most Human Human. Porsdam broached a number of issues that are both highly topical and of relevance to the HERA project, like the wisdom of crowds, distributed models of authorship and scholarship, non-authorial art, and open source publishing. By reviewing this recent scholarship, Porsdam raised several intriguing questions: To what extent is copyright necessary to preserve the authenticity of the original? Is open access detrimental to creativity? Does collective authorship forsake consistency of point of view and style? Is the public entitled to know who has made a statement? Are remix practices a valid form of expression or trite theft?
  • Dominique Pasquier – Paris Tech
    Building on her empirical work in the area of collective mananagement of copyright revenues in the French television sector, Dominique Pasquier’s presentation sparked debate about changing conceptions of authorship, relative value and power relations within creative communities. The professional organisations of French authors of dramatic works which decides on the remuneration of fees for tv airing, had to transform several times its definition of ‘original work’, which is the best paid category, in order to adapt to new forms of tv series production. The analysis of copyright classifications of works over the period 1980-2010 is one way to understand the dilemma and dead ends when trying to reconcile traditional definitions of original works and new industrial and narrative constraints.
  • Paul Sellors – Edinburgh Napier University
    Examined the underlying, somewhat incompatible principles of hermeneutic, legal (UK) and empirical definitions of authorship. He considered the distinction between film as business and as artistic expression, a distinction at the heart of Mutual Film Cooperation v. Ohio State Censorship Ordinance case, heard in the US Supreme Court (1915), which still resonated through our understanding of film authorship. No longer considered incompatibel, both sides of this distinction are now enshrined in the UK Copyright act (CPDA 1988), with the producer and principle director recognised as joint authors. This combination seems to recognise film as both enterpreneural and artistic, a move which appears consistent with an empirical analysis of authorship. However, by considering the director as joint author, copyright law rests on a critical assumption about ’the director’ evident in the debate about censorship of The Birth of A Nation (1915) and in the pages of journals such as Cahiers du cinema, rather than on the empirical analysis of the production and communication of ideas granted tot the makers of other artistic works.
  • Peter Decherney – University of Pennsylvania
    In practice fair use (the US doctrine that allows certain uses of copyrighted materials, e.g. for transformative works, criticism) is shaped by myths and urban legends as well as case-law. Big copyright holders are aware of that. Based on his work in studying communicative strategies in the US audiovisual sector involving copyright claims, Peter Decherney presented a paper on how video makers and copyright holders use extra-legal means to communicate the boundaries of fair use.
  • Helge Rønning – Oslo University
    In his presentation, “The Significance of Copyright for Society”, Helge Rønning offered a broad discussion of the importance of IPRs, which have an impact on the lives of people all over the world. Despite their importance, however, Rønning finds that many people, including politicians and lawyers, have an insufficient understanding of the implications of IPRs. Rønning brought to light the difficulties that the Thirld World faces due to the fact that copyright largely resides with western multinational companies. Furthermore, Rønning outlined the stakes in the conflict between public interest and copyright-holders, a conflict that has only deepened in the digital era. He argued that it is important to consider copyright both from a national and an international perspective. Rønning is in favor of a strong public service system for information, and warned against a commercially based system in where the state functions as a guarantor for the provision of information in the market place. In Rønning’s view this is beneficial to big corporations but detrimental to creators and users.
  • Leif Ove Larsen – University of Bergen

Research team members present:

  • Jostein Gripsrud – University of Bergen
  • Erlend Lavik – University of Bergen
  • Mireille van Eechoud – University of Amsterdam
  • Bernt Hugenholtz – University of Amsterdam
  • Stef van Gompel – University of Amsterdam
  • Lionel Bentley – University of Cambridge
  • Laura Biron – University of Cambridge

Trends in Multiple Authorship: Empirical Studies and Legal Implications workshop, 16 December 2011, Amsterdam

The third workshop of the OOR project, where all the project teams got together with invited academics to hear presentations and discuss how authorship norms in copyright law map on actual creative practices including digital art, dance and peer production. Is there a disconnect between law and practices? Does it matter?


Perceptions of authorship & creative collaboration in arts (chair Mireille van Eechoud)
Elena Cooper Multiple Authorship: Law and Art in the Digital Sphere
Charlotte Waelde The Authorship of Dance?
Yra van Dijk Topdown digital literature: the effects of institutional collaborations and communities
Structuring collaborative authorship in science and peer production
Mario Biagioli Plagiarism & Ghostwriting in Science: Pathological or Emergent Forms of Multiauthorship?
Till Kreutzer Open source software
Niva Elkin-Koren Social production
Discussion, followed by wrap up


  • Multiple Authorship: Law and Art in the Digital Sphere by Dr Elena Cooper, University of Cambridge
    This paper presents findings from interviews conducted with 16 digital creators regarding their authorship practices. Using a number of detailed case studies, concepts of authorship in art are compared with those contained in the copyright laws of three jurisdictions: UK, France and USA. Identifying points of convergence and divergence between art and law, the paper concludes by drawing attention to the ways in which digital art in fact adds coherence to copyright, as well as considering proposals for legal reform to remedy certain instances of divergence.
  • The Authorship of Dance? by Prof Charlotte Waelde, University of Exeter
    Who is the author of a dance? The choreographer? The dancer? Both? Someone else? Drawing on research done for an AHRC Beyond Text funded project – Music and Dance: Beyond Copyright Text? this talk will examine the requirements of UK law for the subsistence of dance copyright, the dance literature, and the views of a number of dancers, choreographers and others from within the dance community. It will challenge some preconceived notions surrounding authorship of dance and question whether the law reflects the reality of practice.
  • Topdown digital literature: the effects of institutional collaborations and communities by Dr Yra van Dijk, University of Amsterdam
    Contrary to what one might think, institutions play an important role in the production, preservation and funding of electronic literature. Even the production of work often takes place in an academic or institutional setting. Literary festivals, conferences and workshops form temporary communities and collaborations in which planned collaboration takes place. This paper will addres some examples of institutionalized and planned collaboration and its effects on the production, the presentation and the content of digital literature.
  • Plagiarism & Ghostwriting in Science: Pathological or Emergent Forms of Multiauthorship? by Prof Mario Biagioli, STS Program & School of Law, UC Davis
    I look at two author functions that are typically seen as improper and possibly unlawful – plagiarism and ghostwriting of scientific publications– as windows on the evolving scenarios of multi-authorship. The first (plagiarism) is a case of unacknowledged sequential authorship while the second (ghostwriting) is an unacknowledged form of multiauthorship. While both are vocally criticized and occasionally punished, they pose interesting conceptual challenges to definitions of the author, thus indicating that they may not as obviously ‘pathological’ as we tend to assume.
  • Multiple authorship in OSS developer communities by Dr Till Kreutzer, iRights.info
    The phenomenon of Open Source Software (OSS) and Open Content (OC) confronted copyright lawyers, cultural scientists and psychologists with various new insights about the motivation to create and the assumed essential role of copyright law as an incentive to become creative. Moreover the peer production based, often decentralised creation of OSS and OC in heterarchichal communities raises questions about the legal perception of the author and challenges the traditional concepts of authorship. An analysis shows that the existent concepts hardly recognize, let alone solve, a number of fundamental questions concerning the allocation of authorship, the licensing and the enforcement of rights in collective works. However, before legislative reforms are considered it must be determined, whether solutions are needed after all and if so, whether legislative measures are the right way to address the unanswered questions. Fact is that Open Source Software production booms despite these regulative gaps. Another fact is that this success is obviously hardly supported by copyright law, which is little customized to the specific particularities of Open Source Software overall. Fact is finally that the involved peer groups apparently do not express any need for (legislative) solutions. Regarding the sensitivities of the freedom orientated Open Source Communities against governmental influencing legislative measures should be considered as the last resort anyway. To analyse if and what solutions are needed to address the problem of multiple authorship in Open Source Software a closer look at the motivation of individuals, enterprises and organisations to contribute to Open Source Software production is necessary. This should e.g. enable to assess, whether regulation is needed or self–regulation is sufficient or how both approaches can interact to find appropriate solutions.


Name Affiliation (*research team member)
Prof Lionel Bently* University of Cambridge, Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law (CIPIL)
Prof Mario Biagioli UC Davis School of Law, Science and Technology Studies (STS)
Dr Elena Cooper* University of Cambridge, Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law (CIPIL)
Dr Yra van Dijk University of Amsterdam, Department of Dutch Studies, Humanities Faculty
Dr Mireille van Eechoud* University of Amsterdam, Institute for Information Law (IViR)
Prof Niva Elkin-Koren University of Haifa, Faculty of Law
Dr Stef van Gompel* University of Amsterdam, Institute for Information Law (IViR)
Prof Jostein Gripsrud* University of Bergen, Department of Information Science and Media Studies, The Media, ICT and Cultural Policy Research Group
Dr Lucie Guibault University of Amsterdam, Institute for Information Law (IVIR)
Prof Bernt Hugenholtz* University of Amsterdam, Institute for Information Law (IViR)
Dr Till Kreutzer Institut für Rechtsfragen der Freien und Open Source Software (ifrOSS), Büro für informationsrechtliche Expertise Hamburg
Dr Erlend Lavik * University of Bergen, Department of Information Science and Media Studies, The Media, ICT and Cultural Policy Research Group
Dr Geert Lovink Hogeschool van Amsterdam, UvA, Institute of Network Cultures
Dr Mirko Schäfer University of Utrecht, Media and Culture Studies
Prof Alain Strowel Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis, Brussels and University of Liège
Dr Penny Travlou Edinburgh College of Art
Prof Charlotte Waelde University of Exeter, Science, Culture and the Law Research Group

Notions of and Conditions for Authorship and Creativity in Media Production, 2 November 2012, Bergen, Norway

On 2 November 2012 a range of academics debated about Notions of and conditions for authorship and creativity in media production with members of the OOR research team. With presentations by:

  • Jennifer Holt on “Rewriting the Script: Conglomerates and Creativity in Contemporary Hollywood”,
  • Eva Novrup Redvall on “Screenwriters and Showrunners, Directors and Auteurs: Creative Collaborations in Film and Television”;
  • John Ellis on “We’ve brought content to users… now the problem is to bring users to content: On blockages to the creativity that should have been enabled by the digital.”
  • Hendrik Storstein Spilker on “Rethinking models of production and distribution in the age of piracy”, and
  • Arnt Maasø on “Music streaming and the sense of ownership”.

Held at the University of Bergen, Department of Information and Mediastudies, Bergen, Norway.

Authorship Dynamics and the Dynamic Work, 15 December 2012, Cambridge


Morning Session: “The Dynamics of Authorship”
10.00 am -10.30 am Introduction: Invited guests (non speakers) introduce their research
10.30 am – 11.30 am Multiple Authorship and Copyright in the Nineteenth Century:
A Case Study of the Oxford English Dictionary, Dr Elena Cooper (University of Cambridge)
11.30 am – 12.30 pm Wikipedia: Daniela Simone (University of Oxford)
Afternoon Session: “The Dynamic Work”
2.00 pm – 3.00 pm The work unbound – versioning and the unit problem in copyright:
Dr Mireille Van Eechoud (University of Amsterdam)
3.00 pm – 4.00 pm The distinction between “work” and “performance” in music history and theory:
Professor John Rink (University of Cambridge)
4.00 pm – 5.00 pm The legal notion of the “work” in UK copyright law:
Mr Jonathan Griffiths (Queen Mary, University of London)
5.00 pm – 5.30 pm Discussion and next steps


Dr Ananay Aguilar (University of Cambridge) is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Faculty of Music. Her recent research focuses on the legal circumstances surrounding recordings and their effect on current music-making.
Professor Lionel Bently (University of Cambridge) is Herchel Smith Professor of Intellectual Property,Director of CIPIL, a Professorial Fellow of Emmanuel College, a practising door tenant at 11 South Square and Co-Investigator on the HERA project Of Authorship and Originality.
Dr Laura Biron (University of Cambridge) is a post-doctoral researcher on the HERA project Of Authorship and Originality concentrating on the question of multiple authorship from the perspective of aesthetics and metaphysics. 
Dr Elena Cooper (University of Cambridge) is Orton Fellow in Intellectual Property Law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge and a post-doctoral researcher on the HERA project Of Authorship and Originality. Her PhD explored the relationship between art and law in the history of photographic copyright 1850-1911.
Professor Severine Dusollier (University of Namur) is Head of the CRIDS (Research Centre in Information, Law and Society) Her current research includes copyright enforcement on the Internet, intellectual commons and open source, interoperability and IP, public domain, competition law and IP.
Dr Andrew Famigletti (University of Texas) is Visiting Assistant Professor of Emerging Media and Communication. His research focuses on the way digital systems of production are changing the way we create and structure knowledge. He is especially interested in the culture, history, and political economy of Wikipedia.
Mr Jonathan Griffiths (Queen Mary, University of London) specialises in intellectual property law (particularly copyright law) and information law. His research includes looking at comparative copyright law and on the relationship between intellectual property and human rights.
Professor Jostein Gripsrud (University of Bergen) is the leader of the DigiCult research group. He is Professor of Media Studies and Co-Investigator on the HERA project Of Authorship and Originality. His research focuses on theatre, popular culture, media and cultural policy and relevant social and cultural theory.
Professor Bernt Hugenholtz (University of Amsterdam) is the Director of the Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam (IViR). He is also a deputy judge at the Court of Appeal in Arnhem and a member of the Dutch Copyright Committee that advises the Minister of Justice of the Netherlands.
Dr Erlend Lavik (University of Bergen) is a post doctoral researcher on the HERA project Of Authorship and Originality investigating the of remix work in light of current copyright laws and the potential of online film criticism to present more detailed and nuanced examinations of the formal features of visual culture.
Dr Thomas Margoni (University of Amsterdam) is a member of IViR. His research focus concentrates on the relationship between law (primarily copyright and patents) and new technologies (including computer and bio-technology).
Professor John Naughton (University of Cambridge) is Professor of the Public Understanding of technology at the Open University and Director of that university’s Relevant Knowledge programme. He is also a Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge and a columnist on The Observer, for which he writes the ‘networker’ column.
Professor Alexander Peukert (Goethe University, Frankfurt) is researching intellectual property rights with a special focus on conflicts associated with their expansion. His research has focussed on access to vital pharmaceuticals and generika in the developing world and biopiracy (the monopolization of traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples without their consent).
Professor John Rink (University of Cambridge) is Professor of Musical Performance Studies and a Fellow of St John’s College. He also directs AHRC Research Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice and specialises in the fields of performance studies, theory and analysis, and nineteenth-century studies.
Daniela Simone (University of Oxford) is currently writing a DPhil on collective authorship and copyright law under the guidance of Professor Graeme Dinwoodie.
Dr Mireille Van Eechoud (University of Amsterdam) is an associate professor, member of IViR and Co-Investigator on the HERA project Of Authorship and Originality. Her research focuses on access o information and international and European intellectual property law, especially copyright, related rights and database protection.
Dr Stef van Gompel (University of Amsterdam) is a postdoctoral researcher for the HERA project Of Authorship and Originality, analysing the concept of original works of authorship.