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Models of Authorship in New Media


New media culture brings with it a number of new models of authorship which all involve different forms of collaboration. Of course, collaborative authorship is not unique to new media: think of medieval cathedrals, traditional painting studios which consisted from a master and assistants, music orchestras, or contemporary film productions which, like medieval cathedrals, involve thousands of people collaborating over a substantial period of time. In fact, in we think about this historically, we will see collaborative authorship represents a norm rather than exception. In contrast, romantic model of a solitary single author occupies a very small place in the history of human culture. New media, however, offers some new variations on the previous forms of collaborative authorship. In this essay I will look at some of these variations. I will try to consider them not in isolation but in a larger context of contemporary cultural economies. As we will see, new media industries and cultures systematically pioneer new types of authorship, new relationships between producers and consumers, and new distribution models, thus acting as a the avant-garde of the culture industry.

Article  2002