Peeling the Layers of the Onion

Authorship in Mashup and Remix Cultures

Authored by: John Logie

The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  November  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415716253
eBook ISBN: 9781315879994
Adobe ISBN: 9781134748747


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In this chapter I seek to illustrate the degree to which digital composition strategies—and in particular remix and mashup—dramatically complicate the task of ascribing authorship, and throw into relief the degree to which inherently collaborative compositions (like most recorded music and all films) defy ready mapping onto the “author/work” model that typically serves as the default model for the creative process. The author/work model also is foundational in the development of most copyright laws and especially US copyright law, which is rooted in a clause in the US Constitution calling for “securing limited rights” for “authors” in their “writings.” All subsequent expansions of US copyright build upon this foundation, even though many contemporary composers of texts—whether written, musical, cinematic, and/or digital—bear little resemblance to the solitary author invoked in this clause. 1

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