Ghost Works survey - Chilling effects of copyright

Ben Finney bignose+hates-spam at
Mon Jun 16 01:53:26 UTC 2008

Howdy all,

The Question Copyright folks are launching a new effort around the
chilling effect of copyright: specifically, the effect of works where
the only thing stopping the work getting out is the cloud of copyright

They use the term "Ghost Works" for these never-made or never-released
works <URL:>:

     In the article "Seen Any Ghost Works Lately?", we defined a ghost
     work as a creative work that never got made, or was made but not
     released, because copyright concerns prevented it from being
     started or from being distributed. Since then, informal
     conversations with artists, publishers and others have made it
     very clear that such suppression is a common event, much more
     common than most people think. But the public rarely hears about
     it, because no one does publicity for a work that doesn't exist.

     The purpose of the Ghost Works Survey is twofold: to demonstrate
     the scope and scale of this phenomenon by gathering and
     organizing as much data about it as we can, and to highlight
     compelling individual stories of artists and other creators who
     had their work thwarted by copyright restrictions. The survey
     will not attempt to catalogue every ghost work — there are
     likely far too many, given that almost every artist we've talked
     to so far has a story of a work they had to alter or lay aside
     due to copyright concerns. Rather, we'll focus on qualitative
     results: we want to collect enough stories to discern large-scale
     patterns, so we can understand and publicize the effects of
     copyright suppression. For more information, see the projects

 \     "I thought I'd begin by reading a poem by Shakespeare, but then |
  `\        I thought 'Why should I? He never reads any of mine.'"  -- |
_o__)                                                   Spike Milligan |
Ben Finney

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