Authors and Creative Users : Addressing the Conceptual Challenges of Digital Creativity to EU Copyright Law from the Perspective of the Author

Abstract: To be an “author” might mean many different things, depending on the context in which the word is used. This thesis explores the EU copyright’s concept of author and how it relates to the everyday digital creativity on the Internet. It invites to consider what EU copyright law might look like if the digital creators which this thesis calls Creative Users were included in the legal system as “authors”. For this purpose, the thesis analyses the concept of author in EU copyright law through its history and theory and several conceptualisations that can be seen to characterise what “author” is in the European copyright tradition are identified. These conceptualisations are then used to deepen the understanding of the current EU copyright law and to reflect on two examples of Creative User activities: the collective knowledge production of Wikipedia and the transformative cultural communication of Internet memes. This thesis proposes that to integrate potential new forms of authorship, a compromise could be found between the different ways of conceptualising the author. It is suggested that if the author that is presently guaranteed a high level of protection under EU copyright law were to be treated as a flexible and more inclusive concept and allowed to evolve together with cultural and technological change, it should influence how copyright protection and exploitation are approached as well.

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