IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Copyright and Creativity: Authors and Photographers


  • Douglas Galbi

    (U.S. Federal Communications Commission)


The history of the occupations “author” and “photographer” provides an insightful perspective on copyright and creativity. The concept of the romantic author, associated with personal creative genius, gained prominence in the eighteenth century. However, in the U.S. in 1900 only about three thousand persons professed their occupation to be “author.” Self-professed “photographers” were then about ten times as numerous as authors. Being a photographer was associated with manufacturing and depended only on mastering technical skills and making a living. Being an author, in contrast, was an elite status associated with science and literature. Across the twentieth century, the number of writers and authors grew much more rapidly than the number of photographers. The relative success of writers and authors in creating jobs seems to have depended not on differences in copyright or possibilities for self- production, but on greater occupational innovation. Creativity in organizing daily work is an important form of creativity.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Galbi, 2003. "Copyright and Creativity: Authors and Photographers," Law and Economics 0311001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwple:0311001
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on Win2000; pages: 13

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    occupations; authors; photographers; copyright law; economic history;

    JEL classification:

    • N - Economic History

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwple:0311001. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.