Creativity that Counts? Of Authorship and Originality Project Public Conference

What fresh perspectives can viewing copyright law through a Humanities’ looking glass bring to key notions of tomorrow’s copyright law? That was the central concern which ran throughout the research project at the heart of this conference.
In the construction and analysis of copyright norms, economic and technological concerns have long dominated the debate. Insights from such diverse disciplines as literary studies, musicology, film studies, philosophy of art and media studies on notions of authorship and originality have gone largely unnoticed.
This conference brought together a rich variety of academics and artists. Speakers and panelists included professor Barton Beebe (NYU Law School), professor Lionel Bently (U Cambridge),  dr. Laura Biron (U Cambridge),  professor Martha Buskirk (Montserrat College of Art), dr. Elena Cooper (U Cambridge), professor Mireille van Eechoud (U Amsterdam), dr. Stef van Gompel (U Amsterdam), professor Jostein Gripsrud (U Bergen), professor David Hesmondhalgh (U Leeds), professor Bernt Hugenholtz (U Amsterdam), professor Peter Jaszi (American University Washington), dr Nick Lambert (U of London), dr Erlend Lavik (U of Bergen), professor Derek Matravers (Open University) and Joseph Nechvatal.
 With the audience they critically reflected on issues such as:
▪ The diverse ways in which relations between creative contributors are perceived in creative communities and how this reflects (or should reflect) in copyright law;
▪ Can central insights from analytic philosophy of art help shape norms about joint works of authorship?:
▪ What are the functions of authorship in  copyright law and to what extent are existing legal conceptions sufficiently flexible to accommodate shifts in production practices?:
▪ What role aesthetics ought, and ought not, to play in copyright law;

9.30Registration, coffee/tea
by Chair Bernt Hugenholtz
 Voices near and far – Digital authorship and creativity debates in law,
by Mireille van Eechoud (PL/PI University of Amsterdam)
 Humanities and copyright,
by Jostein Gripsrud (PI University of Bergen)
11.00-11.45Copyright Law & Aesthetics
 Judging originality – Copyright law’s peculiar notion of creative work,
by Stef van Gompel
 The role of aesthetics in copyright law,
by Erlend Lavik
 Joint authorship doctrine – Insights from philosophy of art,
by Laura Biron
 [refreshments break]
12.00-13.00Panel discussion with Barton Beebe, Martha Buskirk, Derek Matravers, Joseph Nechvatal
13.00Lunch (on location)
14.00-15.00Authorship in practice
 Disaggregating the authorship function as a response to discontinuities between legal and social conceptions of authorship,
by Lionel Bently (PI University of Cambridge)
 Hierarchically ordered individuals: Collective production in theatre and popular music,
by Jostein Gripsrud
 Authorship and Copyright: Reassessing the Challenge of the Digital,
by  Elena Cooper
 [refreshments break]
15.30-16.30Panel discussion with David Hesmondhalgh, Nick Lambert & Peter Jaszi
 Question round & Wrap up
17.00-18.00Drinks & tapas at Compagnietheater
18.00-20.00Assembly (Creativity That Counts?) by Agency at Compagnietheater
Barton BeebeProfessor of Law at New York University School of Law, USA. His research ranges from theoretical explorations of the problem of aesthetic progress to detailed empirical work on fair use opinions. More info
Martha BuskirkProfessor of art history and criticism at Montserrat College of Art, Beverly Massachutes, USA. More info.
Donna CoxProfessor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA and Director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Much of her work concerns collaborative work in visualization. More info
David HesmondhalghProfessor of Media and Music Industries at the University of Leeds, Head of Institute for Communication Studies and Director of Media Industries Research Centre. More info
Peter JasziProfessor of Law and Faculty Director of the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic, American University Washington College of Law. More info.
Nick LambertLecturer in Digital Art and Culture at the Birkbeck University of London. More info.
Derek MatraversProfessor of Philosophy at the Open University and Media Fellow, Arts Faculty. His interests are in aesthetics and the philosophy of art. More info.
Joseph NechvatalArtist whose work includes the innovative use of computer viruses to produce digital paintings. More info
Members of the project team 
University of Amsterdam, IVIR 
Mireille van EechoudProfessor of Information Law at the Faculty of Law, project leader of the OOR project and PI of the Amsterdam part of the project. More info.
Stef van GompelPost-doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Law, where he focuses on the copyright work as creative expression. More info.
Bernt HugenholtzProfessor of Intellectual Property Law at the Faculty of Law, director of IVIR and advisor on the Amsterdam project. More info.
University of Bergen, Infomedia 
Jostein GripsrudProfessor at the Department of Information Science and Media Studies and PI for the Bergen part of the OOR project. More info.
Erlend LavikLavik’s previous work is on US film history, contemporary television drama and film criticism. As post-doc on the HERA project he explores the concepts of originality and authorship, both from a humanities and a legal perspective. More info.
University of Cambridge, CIPIL 
Lionel BentlyHerchel Smith Professor of Intellectual Property Law at the University of Cambridge; Director of the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law and Professorial Fellow, Emmanuel College. He is PI for the Cambridge part of the OOR project, which focuses on questions of multiple authorship. More info.
Laura BironResearch fellow at Queens’ College, Cambridge. As post-doctoral researcher on the OOR project she is looking at some questions about multiple authorship from the perspective of aesthetics and metaphysics. More info.
Elena CooperOrton Fellow in Intellectual Property Law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge and postdoctoral researcher for the OOR project, working on multiple authorship. More info.

Assembly (Creativity that Counts?)
by  Agency
Speculating on the question “how can collectives become included within art practices?”, Agency calls forth the controversy Thing 001621 (Dead Son Drawn by Psychic Artist).
Thing 001621 (Dead Son Drawn by Psychic Artist) concerns a legal court case around the collaboration of a drawing by a psychic artist and will convene an assembly in order to bear witness. Collectively we will revisit the discussion during this controversy and a group of various concerned guests will be invited to respond: Johan Gustavsson (artist), Peter Jaszi (copyright scholar), Coral Ryder (spirit portrait  artist), Steve Rushton (writer, editor and curator), etc.
Agency is an art initiative that was founded in 1992 by Kobe Matthys and has its office in Brussels. It mainly constitutes a growing ‘list of things’ that resist the split between culture and nature. This list is mostly derived from legal cases and controversies involving intellectual property.  Agency calls things forth from its list via varying assemblies inside exhibitions, performances, publications, etc. Every assembly poses a different speculative question. The series of questions explores in a topological way the operative consequences of the apparatus of intellectual property for an ecology of art practices.
Most recently Agency presented assemblies at Musée de la danse, Rennes (2013), Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, Aubervilliers (2012), Objectif-Exhibitions, Antwerpen (2011), The Showroom, London (2011), Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (2010) and in the group exhibitions “Resonance” at Goethe Institute New York, “Mind the System, Find the Gap” at Z33 Hasselt (2012),  “Animism” at Extra City and M HKA Antwerp, at Kunsthalle Bern, at Generali Foundation Vienna, at Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin (2009 -12), “Grand Domestic Revolution” at Casco Utrecht (2011-2012), “Speech Matters” Venice (2011), “Watchmen, Liars, Dreamers” at Le Plateau, Paris (2010), etc.

OOR project partners:

Institute for Information Law
University of Amsterdam

Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law
University of Cambridge

Department of Information Science and Media Studies
University of Bergen

The OOR project is financially supported by the HERA Joint Research Programme ( which is co- funded by AHRC, AKA, DASTI, ETF, FNR, FWF, HAZU, IRCHSS, MHEST, NWO, RANNIS, RCN, VR and The European Community FP7 2007-2013, under the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities programme.