Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Elena Ferrante’s Right to a Pseudonym; Atlantic, 11/15/16

Atlantic; Elena Ferrante’s Right to a Pseudonym:
"Curiously, the United States remains possibly the only country in the world not to recognize an author’s right to be named as the creator of his or her own work, despite huge pressure from authors’ groups and legal experts to do so. American law provides for a limited “right of attribution,” as it is called in the U.S. Copyright Act, but only in relation to works of fine art. Writers, musicians, and creators working in other disciplines have no such right at all. Establishing one would bring the United States into line with the rest of the world—a good thing when creative works literally circulate without borders, and reputations must stand or fall on the global stage.
In Italy, the copyright law says that a pseudonym will be treated as equivalent to the author’s true name, unless (and until) the author chooses to reveal his or her identity. Both the language of the law, and its silences, are arguably significant. In no way is any outsider empowered to reveal an author’s “true” identity when the author has chosen to publish under a pseudonym. Italian law wouldn’t seem to condone a concerted effort such as Gatti’s to uncover Ferrante’s identity."

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