Author-Stories: Narrative's Implications for Moral Rights and Copyright's Joint Authorship Doctrine

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2001


This Article demonstrates that narrative has significant potential to influence explicitly the ways in which courts, litigants, and legislators think about the process of artistic creation and the voice of the author. It contends that the author's voice is one that has been submerged in the development of copyright law and that copyright law is therefore insufficiently sensitive to authorial perspectives about the creative process. It also argues that narrative, as a strategy for bringing attention to marginalized voices, can greatly assist in the reshaping of certain doctrines especially important to authors such as moral rights and copyright's joint authorship doctrine. This Article does not argue for a radical change of the normative standards under which our copyright law currently operates, nor does it urge that the narrative of the author should be emphasized over and above the other forces that have shaped our copyright law. It does contend, however, that copyright law needs to recognize more explicitly that the author's voice has been drowned out by other more dominant voices in our culture. This submergence has resulted in the marginalization of the author's honor, dignity, and spirit in important applications of copyright law.