Sources for Joint Authorship Module

Doctrines Relating to Joint Creation, Betsy Rosenblatt, April 1998.


Anne Hiaring, Multimedia Licensing, 490 PLI/Pat. 481 (September, 1997). Hypothetical case regarding the creation of a CD-Rom; Overview of Copyright, Trademark, Right of Publicity, and Contractual Ownership issues rasied by the creation of a multimedia product by many people.

Laura G. Lape, A Narrow View of Creative Cooperation: The Current State of Joint Work Doctrine, 61 Alb. L. Rev. 43 (1997). Comprehensive discussion of current legal treatment of joint works, especially works created through internet transmission and contribution.

William A. Tanenbaum, Intellectual Property Due Diligence for Online Services, Internet Web Site Development and International Conflict of Laws Analysis, PLI Order No. G4-3961 (September, 1996) Article explicating some of the special considerations that arise in the process of internet site development.

Margaret Chon, New Wine Bursting from Old Bottles: Collaborative Internet Art, Joint Works, and Entrepreneurship, 75 Or. L. Rev 257 (1996). Explores whether the current copyright system is sufficient to deal with the internet, especially the jointly-created artworks that are created on the internet.

Student is Joint Author, Not Liable for Infringement Suit by Professor, 6 NO. 6 Mealey's Litig. Rep.: Intell. Prop. 5 (December 15, 1997). Graduate student and professor conducted a study and the student published a paper based on the results. Lawsuit ensued.

Andrew J. Wu, Dealing with Copyright Aspects of Computer-Aided Authorship, 13 NO. 9 Computer L. Strategist 1 (January, 1997). Brief discussion of ownership in software-aided creations such as websites that use "canned" images.

Sandip. H. Patel, Graduate Students' Ownership and Attribution Rights in Intellectual Property, 71 Ind. L.J. 481 (Spring, 1996). Deals primarily with student intellectual ownership of theories and inventions developed while in school, comparing these ownership rights wit those of professors. Explores patent and copyright implications of student research, including work-for-hire and joint authorship theories.


Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 490 U.S. 730 (1989). Work for hire case: CCNV hired Reid, to create a statue. Court clarified definition of "work for hire" and found that the statue was not a "work for hire," but found that statue may be a joint work of CCNV and Reid.

Ashton-Tate v. Ross, 916 F.2d 516 (9th Cir. 1990). Joint authorship case: One software developer (claimant) sued another for unilaterally marketing spreadsheet program on which both had worked. Court found no joint authorship because the contribution of the claimant (a list of user commands) was not independently copyrightable and therefore not sufficiently significant.

Childress v. Taylor, 945 F.2d 500 (2d Cir.1991) Actor asked playwright to help create work based on research and ideas of actor. Actor revised play with another playwright; original playwright sued, claiming that she was joint author and therefore shared rights to play. Court found no joint authorship. This case stands for the propositions that, in order for a work to be "joint," (1) the contributions of each joint author must be independently copyrightable and (2) the authors must intend to create a joint work.

Erickson v. Trinity Theatre, 13 F.3d 1061 (7th Cir. 1994) Playwtrite sued theatre to enjoin performance of her work, which she created while working with actors at the theatre. Similarly to Childress, court found no joint authorship, holding that (1) to create joint work, each author must intend respective contributions to be contribution to unitary whole and (2) collaborators are not joint authors unless they intended to be joint authors when work was created and contributions to works are independently copyrightable.

Napoli v. Sears, Roebuck and Co., 874 F.Supp. 206 (N.D. Ill. 1995) Court held that rights in the design of a graphic user interface could create joint authorship in the work as a whole, together with the rights in the computer code itself. (vacated on unspecified grounds, 926 F.Supp.780 (N.D. Ill. 1996).

Ahn v. Midway, 965 F.Supp.3d 1134 (N.D. Ill. 1997) Martial Arts expert and dancer were held to have created independently copyrightable coreography for the video game "Mortal Kombat" but not to have joint copyrights in the game. Joint Authorship issue was moot because the artists had signed "work for hire" contracts.