Artists’ earnings and copyrights

It’s still on my reading list, because it is a long article and I have limited time, but a choice quote already:

There is no unified category of rights owners, covering creators (authors) and investors (producers). Creators have four main interests:

  • to see their work widely reproduced and distributed;
  • to receive credit for it;
  • to earn a financial reward relative to the commercial value of the work; and,
  • to be able to engage creatively with other works (in adaptation, comment, sampling etc).

Regarding the appropriate structure of author rights, this leads to three conclusions:

  • The creator has little to gain from exclusivity (it prevents widest distribution; it prevents access to other works; it does not ensure financial reward)
  • The creator has little to gain from transferability (under prevalent contractual practices, the creator can be bought out in a one-off commercial transaction)
  • The creator has a lot to gain from the so-called droit moral (a kind of creative trademark, ensuring integrity of origin).

(From: Artists’ earnings and copyrights by Martin Kretschmer.)

Also, the article has what must be both the most comprehensive and concise history of copyright I have seen so far.

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