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Re: The meaning of authorship

If authorship is tied to copyright/royalties, the meaning you define
doesn't correspond well at all.

Seems to me there are two things going under the guise of "authorship"
in the English meaning of the word.  They each correspond to a facet
the word "responsibility", one to its "pay the party responsible" side,
and one to "the responsible party pays".

Creation of a string of text (or whatever) which has potential to
bring the creator a BENEFIT makes him/her/it an "author" within the
first meaning.  This form of authorship is not diminished by
proofreading, typesetting, editing, colaboration, plagarism, quotation
out-of-context, etc., until the author acknowleges that it HAS been

Creation of a string of text (or whatever) which has the potential
to bring the creator a HARM makes him/her/it an "author" within
the second meaning.  This form of authorship is diminished by any
process that changes the effective content of the document, until
the author acknowleges that it has NOT been dimished.

Benefits or harms might be in the form of money (royalties, copyright
infringement judgements, libel judgements {gack!}), or various
intangibles (such as academic, social, or political reputation).

When someone makes a derivative work which distorts an author's
original, it is entirely reasonable for the author to claim the benefits
from authorship-1 and evade the harms from authorship-2.  Example:
an author whose work on dog-breeding is plagarized by a NAZI
organization and included in a racist tract which then becomes a
best-seller.  Such an author might simultaneously demand royalties
and deny being a NAZI.

Of course this is the most desirable state for any author, and it
behoves everyone else to keep the two sorts of authorship closely
coupled, until genuine misuse of the document decouples them.

Publishers do this with galley proofs.  The author gets to see a
sample of his work after all of the manual interventions of the
classic printing process have occurred.  He makes his final corrections,
and thus signs on for the downside.  (He also gets to see whether any
unintentional distortions resulted from the rendering to type.)

How else does existing literature handle this two-sided coin?  Let's look
at a few cases.  (Marcs, I solicit your corrections, especially on the first
two.  Markm, drexler, ditto on the fourth.)

 - Two-author colaborations:  depends on the arrangement between the
   authors, but I bet seeing and approving of each other's work is

 - Multi-author collections and periodicals:  Each author's name goes
   on his own work, and he gets to approve galleys.  Editor's and
   publisher's name goes on the whole volume.

 - Newspapers and magazines:  See multi-author periodicals, with the
   exception that some works-for-hire are not credited, in which case
   the editor and publisher bear much more responsibility.

 - Scholarly journals:  See multi-author collections.

 - Movies, plays, records:  Directors, producers, etc. have the final say
   and the top billing.  Performers have no veto power over the result,
   and thus get credit but much less blame.  Writers are about as far
   removed as a bit-part player.  And so on down the list of credits.
   (And everybody below the movie director, record producer, or network
   executive is constantly griping about creative control and what a hash
   the higher-ups made of their work.)

(One of the things that pleases me about the Xanadu Hypertext Library
 is the difficulty of quoting someone out-of-context.  Hit the button,
 get the context (or at least one of the contexts the author approved).
 Hit another, see if the author made an annotation criticizing the use
 made of his work.  (Might be good to make such links visible as the
 default in text-reading frontends.)  Want to escape this and quote him
 out-of-context anyhow?  Then you must re-enter his text, violating his
 copyright and making your entry that much more suspect.)