I will be delivering a public lecture at CREATe in Glasgow on 15 November 2017, entitled ‘Taking seriously the author’s interest in copyright’. Here’s the spiel:
Copyright is fundamentally a system of incentives and rewards. It is intended to incentivise initial production and continued investment in works in order to achieve the broader benefits that result from widespread dissemination of knowledge and culture. Beyond that, it is meant to reward authors for their contributions of personality and labour. But current approaches do a poor job of achieving either of these aims. Copyright’s incentive component is supposed to promote works’ continued availability, but rights are awarded in full, upfront, regardless of whether those investments are actually made – and very often they are not. The rewards component arises from creators’ moral claims, but the nature of creative labour markets means it very often ends up in the pockets of investors instead. Thus the ‘lump sum’ approach leads to enormous loss of cultural value – while still failing to get authors paid.
In this public lecture, Giblin will explore how taking authors’ interests in copyright seriously could provide the key not only to (finally) improving their remuneration outcomes, but simultaneously free up neglected rights for fresh exploitation, support the emergence of new distribution models and reduce oligopoly power. She will introduce a planned program of empirical research aimed at better understanding just what is lost under current approaches – and what we have to gain by navigating the gaps and flexibilities in the international treaty framework to come up with a system that will better achieve its aims.