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Unpublished Paper
From the Mouths of Babes: Protecting Child Authors from Themselves
ExpressO (2009)
  • Julie Cromer Young, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
This article explores the explosion of copyright protection now granted to authors under the age of eighteen, the age of majority in most states. Historically, contracting parties have been able to use the doctrine of infancy to disaffirm contracts they made when they were not yet of legal age. The Internet is changing this. As with most Internet sites, sites targeted at minors require young authors to accept terms of use in order to publish and distribute works online. Those terms and conditions often compromise the copyrights of the child authors, preventing them from reclaiming the licenses once the authors learn they have unwittingly diminished their rights. Such was the case in A.V. v. iParadigms, the "Turnitin" case. The district court in iParadigms held that the infancy defense was inapplicable to the contract with the minor, and the Fourth Circuit declined to explore the issue further. This article explains why this is problematic, and suggests a revision to the Copyright Act to help young authors maintain the benefits of their authorship.
  • infancy doctrine,
  • copyright,
  • authorship
Publication Date
September 11, 2009
Citation Information
Julie Cromer Young. "From the Mouths of Babes: Protecting Child Authors from Themselves" ExpressO (2009)
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