Copyright and Responsibility

Author: Haochen Sun

Published in Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law, Vol. 4, p. 263 (2013).

This Article argues that the ethics of responsibility should be hailed as an intrinsic value undergirding copyright law. It considers how and why copyright law should be reformed to embrace a strong vision of copyright holders’ responsibilities. To this end, it calls for a more dynamic vision regarding the nature of copyrighted works. A copyrighted work, as the Article shows, is not only the embodiment of its author’s thought and personality, but also a social initiative in sharing intangible resources to promote creativity, shaping people’s cultural power, and pursuing the quest for justice. These social values inherent in all copyrighted works provide the ethical justification for introducing responsibility into copyright and enforcing it as another core function of copyright law. Following the ethics of responsibility, copyright law should function to grant exclusive rights to copyright holders and also to impose social responsibilities on them.

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