Akron Law Review — Copyright Easements
lterrat's bookmarks 2017-08-22
"This Article explores mechanisms by which authors, in seeking publication and distribution of their works, would not simply effect a wholesale assignment of a copyright in a work to a publisher. Instead, assignments would be made such that the publisher would acquire a significant interest—sufficient to incentivize publishing and distributing the work—but not the entire interest. Certain rights would instead be reserved for the benefit of the author or, more generally, to ensure future productive uses of the work (without any need to obtain permission from the assignee publisher). This Article proposes creation of copyright easements under which a designated entity or individual—referred to in this Article as the easement holder—would acquire certain rights in the work. The easement holder could hold a wide range of rights but, in typical circumstances, the holder would have the right to make or to authorize the making of designated uses of the work notwithstanding a publisher’s ownership of the copyright in the work. As such, the easement holder would hold rights in a work that would qualify any future copyright assignment by the author to a publisher (or other party). Importantly, the author’s own hands would be tied: the author could no longer assign an unfettered copyright because the easement holder, not the author, would hold the reserved interests in the work. This approach derives from the law of easements that governs real property under which easements give legal interests to non-owners to use land in certain ways or to limit uses the property owner may himself make of the property."