This post written by my research assistant

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5 Responses

  1. A.J. Sutter says:

    I’m not clear on how the theoretical issues necessarily arise in this case. I’d expect most ghostwriters for celebrities are writing pursuant to an employment relationship, or else under a contract that likely provides for an assignment of copyright to the celebrity (or some enity controlled by the celebrity).

    Why wouldn’t the celeb be standing in the shoes of the creator, in that case? Or are you saying that there ought to be diminished protection, on both labor and persona grounds, in all work-made-for-hire/assignment situations? (BTW, that last question is asked in a curious, not shocked, tone of voice.)

  2. A.W. says:

    Btw, why is everyone all of a sudden fascinated by twitter?

  3. Kaimi says:


    I’m following up on Deven’s specific argument here. In a small nutshell (but you really should read the whole article), it’s this:

    People are often expressing themselves online, but often in ways that technically don’t give them a property right in the expression. You don’t have a full property right in your Yahoo mail account, or your Twitter stream, or your Facebook account. They are limited (often a lot) by existing 3P contracts. Deven suggests that there are arguments for giving stronger property protections to those expressions. E.g., if Twitter decides to seize my account, I have an argument that it is connected to both my labor and my personhood, and that I should get some property protection.

    In this post, I’m suggesting that those arguments are less compelling in the case of ghostwriters.

  4. A.J. Sutter says:

    Thanks for your explantion. So it sounds like you’re talking about a natural rights sort of property, rather than copyright? or at least a natural-rights “penumubra” to copyright?

  5. Kaimi says:

    Deven’s article suggests the need for some level of property protection that is not directly tied to copyright, yes.