Reconceptualizing Copyright Registration

Reconceptualizing Copyright Registration

Omri Alter

This Article considers the issue of copyright registration through the paradigm of behavioral economics. By considering the issue through a paradigm that has not been considered before, it results in a conclusion that stands face to face with copyright scholarship of recent years. This Article critiques the trend in the literature that advocates for strengthening the role of registration in copyright law. The Article does so by examining what is termed here as “registration dilemma,” which relates to the decision making done by authors to come to a conclusion regarding whether to register their work. The social benefits ascribed to the implementation of copyright registration by the conventional literature dealing with this issue are based on rational decision making of authors. Yet, this conventional model portrays only a limited picture. It does not account for a wide array of decisions that authors may take with regard to the registration dilemma, such as decisions that arise while considering behavioral models of decision making. Because the benefits of copyright registration rely on authors making rational decisions, the existence of decisions that are not based on these kinds of considerations imply that the intended goals will not be achieved. Hence, this Article proposes to downplay the role of registration and search for other means to achieve the same policy goals, without relying on authors’ decision making.

98 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Soc’y 930(2016)

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