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Faulty Math: The Economics of Legalizing the Grey Album  

Bambauer, Derek, 59 Ala. L. Rev. 345 (2008).

This article explains why, economically, copyright owners should not control production of derivative works based on their creations. Giving the owners exclusive rights over their works obstructs creativity, financially blocking many artists from building upon others works. The utilitarian economic approach that copyright law is based on today should give way, leaving the copyright owner no rights to the derivative work, lowering cost and increasing diversity. “Copyright law should protect transformative works from infringement liability with copyright while safeguarding initial authors against minor variants that merely substitute for their expression.”

The best economical practice is to eliminate the derivative works right, and impose minor modifications to other aspects of copyright law. Modern debate over derivative works is often veil in economic theory, however personality-theory and Locke’s labor theory are often cited as reasons to keep derivative rights. The author believes that society should articulate these concerns clearly, and not try to make all concerns fall under an economic umbrella of reasoning.

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