Copyright and collective authorship: locating the authors of collaborative work

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Copyright law is often assumed to be ill-equipped to determine the authorship of highly collaborative copyright work, yet few scholars have offered concrete solutions to the perceived problem of determining copyright subsistence in relation to such work. Dr Simone’s book seeks to break new ground in addressing the complex problem of determining the authorship of highly collaborative work from a copyright point of view.

The book commences with a rigorous analysis of the concepts of authorship and joint authorship as currently understood in UK copyright law, and in doing so, it shines a light upon an area that is fraught with uncertainty and conflicting case law. It then looks beyond the field of IP law, to the humanities and social sciences where scholars have already thought deeply about these issues. The book also incorporates four detailed case studies (science, films, Indigenous art, Wikipedia) which exemplify the mismatch between creative norms in environments in which collaboration evidently flourishes and copyright law’s rules on authorship.

By looking beyond the law, this work explores perspectives which, although valuable, have been largely untapped and unappreciated in the copyright debate. The book evaluates the ways in which collaborators understand and regulate authorship as between themselves, and then applies the findings to provide a critical evaluation of copyright law’s test of joint authorship. This inductive approach, which places current creative practice at the heart of the analysis reveals that many of the assumptions - about creators, the creative process and the exploitation of creative works - which are used to justify the current, restrictive interpretation of joint authorship in copyright law are simply not borne out by the reality of creativity. The book also considers the role which private ordering plays to alleviate many of the concerns which underpin the current, restrictive doctrinal approach. It argues that a more inclusive approach to the legal standard for joint authorship may improve the quality of private ordering.

Ultimately, the book seeks to bridge the gap between the legal rules and how collective authorship groups regulate authorship themselves. It not only provides a systematic and reasoned explanation of why the current joint authorship test is unsuitable for highly collaborative works, but it proposes how the test may be recalibrated by the courts without requiring any changes in the copyright legislation itself. Dr Simone proposes an inclusive, contextual approach to the implementation of the current statutory test which is not only better suited to the challenge of determining the authorship of this kind of collaborative work, but also would serve to realign copyright law with creative reality.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge, UK ; New York
PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)
Number of pages304
ISBN (Electronic)9781108186070
ISBN (Print)9781107199958
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameCambridge Intellectual Property and Information Law
PublisherCambridge University Press


  • Copyright law
  • Collaboration
  • Social norms
  • Film
  • Authorship
  • Science
  • Wikipedia
  • Indigenous Australians
  • Digital technologies
  • Indigenous art


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