According to the Supreme Court, copyright requires both independent creation and creativity. The independent creation requirement provides that copyright cannot protect an element of a work of authorship that is copied from a previously existing work. But scholars disagree about the meaning of and justification for the creativity requirement.

The creativity requirement should be abandoned because it is irrelevant to the scope of copyrightable subject matter and distorts copyright doctrine by encouraging inefficient “creativity rhetoric.” The purpose of copyright is to encourage the production of economically valuable works of authorship, not creativity.

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Notes/Citation Information

Brian L. Frye, Against Creativity, 11 N.Y.U. J.L. & Liberty 426 (2017).



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