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The Misapplication of “Mastermind”: A Mutant Species of Work for Hire and the Mystery of Disappearing Copyrights

Dougherty, Jay

Thank you June and Jane for inviting me and all the staff of the Center for all your help in doing this. And also I feel really honored to be here since Jack Kernochan was my copyright professor. I learned it from him upstairs, so it’s a real pleasure to be bringing it back here to Columbia in his honor. The title of my talk is “The Misapplication of ‘Mastermind’: A Mutant Species of Work for Hire and the Mystery of Disappearing Copyrights.” Basically, we’re talking about tools for managing complex multi-author works, and the tool that seems to be developing lately in terms of motion pictures, which is a type of complex work, is what the Ninth Circuit tends to call the “mastermind” approach and in the Second Circuit they call the “dominant author.” I think they’re roughly interchangeable ideas, and I think that the concept is being misused and isn’t necessary. I’m a very experienced motion picture production lawyer and I don’t buy the “Swiss cheese of copyright” argument that Google likes to make and the courts have endorsed, and we’ll get into that a little more as we go along.

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Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts

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Academic Units
Law
Published Here
November 22, 2016
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