Since time immemorial, authors have wanted to own various kinds of
exclusive rights in the works they create. Curiously, the rights authors want
to own at any particular point in time tend to reflect the nature of the market
for the works they create. The first exclusive right authors wanted was attribution.
In classical Greece, philosophers accused each other of copying
ideas without attribution. The Roman poet Martial coined the term plagiarius
to criticize other poets for passing off his poems as their own. Even
medieval Irish poets observed plagiarism norms that prohibited copying
without attribution. In all of these cases, authors cared about attribution
because it was essential to their livelihood.
Many people have argued that authors ought to be able to abandon their
copyrights and place their works in the public domain. I agree. Unfortunately,
it can be difficult and complicated. Under the Copyright Act, everything
copyrightable is automatically copyrighted, and there is no explicit
mechanism for abandoning copyright. Accordingly, Creative Commons
created the CCO tool, which is intended to help authors place their work in
the public domain, to the extent legally possible. I think authors also ought
to be able to abandon their attribution right and permit plagiarism of their
works. Property is property, whether or not it has economic value. Accordingly,
I provide a couple of CC+ tools intended to help authors abandon
their attribution right.
Frye, Brian L., "A License to Plagiarize" (2021). Law Faculty Scholarly Articles. 743.