The Right to Say, “I Didn’t Write That,” Creating a Cause of Action to Combat False Attribution of Authorship on the Internet

– Kathleen Brennan Hicks

The internet has made false attribution—a situation in which an author is credited for a work that he or she did not write—much more problematic. The internet facilitates the spread of falsely-attributed works to a much wider audience and often obscures the identity of the responsible individuals This leaves the victims of false attribution, referred to as “non-authors” in this Article, with limited, if any, redress against those who have potentially damaged their reputations and hijacked their creative personas. This Article analyzes the shortcomings of current legal regimes, which do not protect the correct values at stake in the problem of false attribution and proposes a new cause of action for claims of false attribution. This new cause of action would protect an author’s right to control his or her own name and would be enforced through a notice and takedown regime that is similar to that of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Abstract Written by Matthew T. Porter, 2018