News

Attribution, Hollywood-style

Glenn Otis Brown, October 18th, 2003

There’s a great article by Tad Friend in this week’s New Yorker, entitled “Credit Grab.” The piece explains the (fairly arbitrary) arbitration process used to settle authorship disputes over big Hollywood movies and to award credit to screenwriters. The process is a mess, says Friend, in part because

most Hollywood pictures, particularly those whose characters are given out in rubberized form in conjunction with the purchase of Happy Meals, have no particular author. They emerge out of market research and dovetail with the storytelling expectations of the wider commercial culture . . . .

Just one of many nuggets in this piece, which sadly, is only available in print. But film fans and copyright buffs will find the New Yorker‘s Oct. 20 issue well worth the four bucks: it’s one story or comic after another about the fascinating, surreal world of commercialized culture. (A representative cartoon caption: “That thing you just said — I’d like to option it for a movie.”)

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