What is an author? What is a text? At a time when the definition of "text" is expanding and the technology whereby texts are produced and disseminated is changing at an explosive rate, the ways "authorship" is defined and rights conferred upon authors must also be reconsidered. This volume argues that contemporary copyright law, rooted as it is in a nineteenth-century Romantic understanding of the author as a solitary creative genius, may be inapposite to the realities of cultural production. Drawing together distinguished scholars from literature, law, and the social sciences, the volume explores the social and cultural construction of authorship as a step toward redefining notions of authorship and copyright for today's world.
These essays, illustrating cultural studies in action, are aggressively interdisciplinary and wide-ranging in topic and approach. Questions of collective and collaborative authorship in both contemporary and early modern contexts are addressed. Other topics include moral theory and authorship; copyright and the balance between competing interests of authors and the public; problems of international copyright; musical sampling and its impact on "fair use" doctrine; cinematic authorship; quotation and libel; alternative views of authorship as exemplified by nineteenth-century women's clubs and by the Renaissance commonplace book; authorship in relation to broadcast media and to the teaching of writing; and the material dimension of authorship as demonstrated by Milton's publishing contract.
Contributors. Rosemary J. Coombe, Margreta de Grazia, Marvin D'Lugo, John Feather, N. N. Feltes, Ann Ruggles Gere, Peter Jaszi, Gerhard Joseph, Peter Lindenbaum, Andrea A. Lunsford and Lisa Ede, Jeffrey A. Masten, Thomas Pfau, Monroe E. Price and Malla Pollack, Mark Rose, Marlon B. Ross, David Sanjek, Thomas Streeter, Jim Swan, Max W. Thomas, Martha Woodmansee, Alfred C. Yen