For the last six weeks, we've explored many issues surrounding infringement
on the internet. We have explored what happens when domain names conflict;
when software piracy raises a specter; and when someone's work is linked
to, framed, metatagged, posted, or distorted without permission. But who
has ownership rights in internet creation, in the first place?
The technological complexity of the internet makes it almost unheard-of
for an entire site to be created singlehandedly. Even in a simple scenario,
site architects work with those who conceptualize a site and write its substance,
and then designers apply the substance to the internet and make it all look
good. Each must be paid appropriately for his or her work, and each must
receive some credit. Even more complications arise when a site is designed
to create profit: how is profit divided among the participants in a site,
and what happens when new parties join in the enterprise?
This week in the we will explore some of the legal issues surrounding joint
authorship, including joint ownership of rights, the work-for-hire doctrine,
and contractual solutions. The case study explores the issues raised by
creating the site for a course such as this one. After reading the case
study and the related legal and nonlegal resources you are encouraged to participate
in the various discussion media in the vitrual classroom.