Author

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An author (sometimes, in reference to a female author, authoress[1]) is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.

Contents

Author of a written or legally copied work

Legal significance

In copyright law, there is necessarily little flexibility as to what constitutes authorship. The United States Copyright Office defines copyright as "a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to authors of "original works of authorship".[2] Holding the title of "author" over any "literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, [or] certain other intellectual works" give rights to this person, the owner of the copyright, exclusive right to do or authorize any production or distribution of their work. Any person or entity wishing to use intellectual property held under copyright must receive permission from the copyright holder to use this work, and often will be asked to pay for the use of copyrighted material. After a fixed amount of time, the copyright expires on intellectual work and it enters the public domain, where it can be used without limit. Copyright law has been amended time and time again since the inception of the law to extend the length of this fixed period where the work is exclusively controlled by the copyright holder. However, copyright is merely the legal reassurance that one owns his/her work. Technically, someone owns their work from the time it's created. An interesting aspect of authorship emerges with copyright in that it can be passed down to another upon one's death. The person who inherits the copyright is not the author, but enjoys the same legal benefits.

Questions arise as to the application of copyright law. How does it, for example, apply to the complex issue of fan fiction? If the media agency responsible for the authorized production allows material from fans, what is the limit before legal constraints from actors, music, and other considerations, come into play? As well, how does copyright apply to fan-generated stories for books? What powers do the original authors, as well as the publishers, have in regulating or even stopping the fan fiction?

Literary significance

In literary theory, critics find complications in the term "author" beyond what constitutes authorship in a legal setting. In the wake of postmodern literature, critics such as Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault have examined the role and relevance of authorship to the meaning or interpretation of a text.

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