Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property

Copyright theory and a justificatory framework for creative autonomy in cultural industries

Mary Gani-Ikilama *

Keywords: creativity, creative autonomy, copyright law, deontology, consequentialism, cultural industries, freedom of expression


Although the creative industries have been considered as central to the twenty-first century economy, scholarly efforts to measure creativity have adopted diverse approaches, and there has been no consensus as to its definition. This article distils the concept of creative autonomy from Sternberg's definition of creativity, establishes a contextual definition through international human rights law, and analyses the notion through the lens of copyright theory. Though deontological and consequentialist theories on copyright may commonly be considered independently of each other, this article adopts a fused approach. It weighs deontological theories in order to ascertain justification for creative autonomy, and then argues that in addition to the dual consequentialist ideals of access to cultural goods and financial incentives for authors, explicit recognition of the notion of creative autonomy may lend a further perspective to consequentialist analysis of copyright law.

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