From The Journal Of Screenwriting V6 Issue 2: Judging authorship in divided cultural work: Broadcast series formats in mid-century idea law by Josh Heuman

Highlighting the articles in the past editions of the Journal of Screenwriting, of which I am the Book Reviews Editor. Hopefully these abstracts will entice you to did a little deeper into the history and future of screenwriting. — Rosanne


Judging authorship in divided cultural work: Broadcast series formats in mid-century idea law by Josh Heuman

In the mid-twentieth century, US courts and legal commentators confronted increasingly prominent problems of idea protection. While not unique in raising such problems, the maturing radio and television broadcasting industry intensified and complicated them – in the unruliness of its idea markets, and the distinctive relation between idea and expression implied in broadcast series formats. Idea law offers a revealing scene of discourse about mid-century broadcast writing – a scene for making sense and value from often ambiguous and ambivalent writing practices. In particular, problems of idea protection and copyright’s idea–expression dichotomy draw out tensions across divisions of writing labour. This article explores how mid-century idea law struggled to account for the economic and cultural value of ideas, in arguments that compose particular but provocative discourses about broadcast authorship. It also points towards some of the broader interest of those arguments – as a particular case study in the fragmentation of authorship, and as a provocative but neglected antecedent for contemporary concerns like amateur participation, recombinatory creativity and even the ‘creative economy’.

From The Journal Of Screenwriting V6 Issue 2: Judging authorship in divided cultural work: Broadcast series formats in mid-century idea law by Josh Heuman


Journal of Screenwriting Cover

The Journal of Screenwriting is an international double-blind peer-reviewed journal that is published three times a year. The journal highlights current academic and professional thinking about the screenplay and intends to promote, stimulate and bring together current research and contemporary debates around the screenplay whilst encouraging groundbreaking research in an international arena. The journal is discursive, critical, rigorous and engages with issues in a dynamic and developing field, linking academic theory to screenwriting practice. 

Get your copy and subscription to the Journal of Screenwriting Today!



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.