Authorship and Professionalism in the Digital Age: The Economics of Reputation

Author: Mira T Sundara Rajan (University of Glasgow)

This paper examines the concept of reputation within copyright law. It argues that reputation is the key to value in the creative industries, and that technology greatly emphasizes the function of reputation as the foundation of all economic, as well as personal, benefit to creators. In particular, the paper will explore the role of reputation in new business models in the copyright industries, particularly in the areas of music and social media. At a conceptual level, the paper will show that there are key economic and “moral” dimensions to both authorship and ownership of copyright law, and that reputation represents the nexus between the two. Accordingly the marginalization of reputational interests as the exclusive prerogative of authors’ “moral rights” should be rejected in favor of a more holistic integration of reputation into the broader framework of rights protected by copyright law.

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