2014, Fri, Mar 21

What is Authorship?

with Martha Woodmansee, Jeanette Hofmann, Moderation: Thomas Ernst

The concept of intellectual property in continental Europe is essentially based on the 18th century notion of the original genius. Is this concept still viable for contemporary forms of literary production? Martha Woodmansee explores the cultural and historical contexts in which the concept of authorship has developed and how the conditions of literary production have changed since the Enlightenment. In the discussion, the premises of copyright law will be questioned from the perspectives of literary studies and the social sciences. Special attention will be placed on collaborative creative processes.

The Construction of Authorship
Lecture by Prof. Martha Woodmansee (Department of English Literature, Case Western Reserve University)

Collaborative Authorship
Discussion with Dr. Thomas Ernst (German Literature, University Duisburg Essen), Dr. Jeanette Hofmann, (Political Sciences, Alexander von Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft, Berlin) and Prof. Martha Woodmansee


Dr. Thomas Ernst, Literature and Media Practice, University Duisburg-Essen, teaches literature and media practice at University Duisburg-Essen. The emphases of his research include new media and literature, in particular Internet literature and intellectual property. His current project is entitled: Geistiges Eigentum: Wandel und Aporien einer interdisziplinären Konstellation vom 18. Jahrhundert bis heute.

Dr. Jeanette Hofmann, Political Sciences, Alexander von Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft, Berlin, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, is director of the project group Politikfeld Internet at Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung and co-director of the Alexander von Humboldt Institut für Internet und Gesellschaft, where she directs the Internet Policy and Governance program. She is honorary professor for Internet policy at the Zentralinstitut für Weiterbildung, Universität der Künste Berlin. Her work deals with issues of copyright and intellectual property from the perspective of political science.

Prof. Martha Woodmansee, Literary Studies, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, is professor of English and law at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She directed the Society for Critical Exchange and co-founded the International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property. In her interdisciplinary work, she deals primarily with European literary history, the history of the book, and the history of law in the 18th and 19th centuries. She is especially interested in the development of copyright law and the construction of concepts of authorship. Her publications includeThe Author, Art, and the Market (Columbia University Press 1994); The Construction of Authorship: Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature (with Peter Jaszi, Duke University Press 1994), und Making and Unmaking Intellectual Property (withMario Biagioli, University of Chicago Press 2011), amongst others.