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Columbia Law School

Intellectual Property Law

Columbia Law Review

2017

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Causing Copyright, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Jan 2017

Causing Copyright, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

Faculty Scholarship

Copyright protection attaches to an original work of expression the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible medium. Yet modern copyright law contains no viable mechanism by which to examine whether someone is causally responsible for the creation and fixation of the work. Whenever the issue of causation arises, copyright law relies on its preexisting doctrinal devices to resolve the issue, in the process cloaking its intuitions about causation in altogether extraneous considerations. This Article argues that copyright law embodies an unstated yet distinct theory of authorial causation, which connects the element of human agency to a work ...