Joseph, M. (2019). Commercialising on Copyrights: The Emergence of the Victorian Literary Agent. In Victorian Literary Businesses (pp. 83-116). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

From Copyright EVIDENCE

Advertising Architectural Publishing of books, periodicals and other publishing Programming and broadcasting Computer programming Computer consultancy Creative, arts and entertainment Cultural education

Film and motion pictures Sound recording and music publishing Photographic activities PR and communication Software publishing (including video games) Specialised design Television programmes Translation and interpretation

1. Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare 2. Relationship between creative process and protection - what motivates creators (e.g. attribution; control; remuneration; time allocation)? 3. Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors) 4. Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption) 5. Understanding consumption/use (e.g. determinants of unlawful behaviour; user-generated content; social media)

A. Nature and Scope of exclusive rights (hyperlinking/browsing; reproduction right) B. Exceptions (distinguish innovation and public policy purposes; open-ended/closed list; commercial/non-commercial distinction) C. Mass digitisation/orphan works (non-use; extended collective licensing) D. Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability) E. Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts) F. Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)

Source Details

Joseph (2019)
Title: Commercialising on Copyrights: The Emergence of the Victorian Literary Agent
Author(s): Joseph, M.
Year: 2019
Citation: Joseph, M. (2019). Commercialising on Copyrights: The Emergence of the Victorian Literary Agent. In Victorian Literary Businesses (pp. 83-116). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
Link(s): Definitive , Open Access
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Cross Country Study?: No
Comparative Study?: No
Literature review?: No
Government or policy study?: No
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Abstract

The rise of the literary agent has been widely chronicled in research. However, studies concentrate on what literary agents did once they were established, but ignore how this literary business developed, and why it changed the dynamic of how literature was sold between the author and publisher. The study fills this gap by exploring Alexander Pollock Watt (A. P. Watt), one of Britain’s earliest literary agents. The author answers several questions: (1) Origins of a literary middleman; (2) Why did the literary agent emerge? (3) How did A. P. Watt become the most notable Victorian agent; and (4) How did A. P. Watt develop the professionalisation of the literary agency. At the end, the author also describes how A. P. Watt, through The Bookman interview, strategically delivered a self-image which is inconsistent with documents in the archive. The author points out it is problematic that researchers consider the narrative of The Bookman interview as fact without questioning.

Main Results of the Study

The literary agent in a relatively short span of time became an instrumental part of publishing, progressing from being an outsider and in some cases despised by publishers, to becoming a gatekeeper, as all communications, agreements and negotiations went through the office of the agent. Although not the first, it can be argued that A. P. Watt was the most influential due to how he professionalised the service utilising contractual law, so he could negotiate with publishers effectively and ensure that agreements would be legally binding. The Bookman interview was Watt’s opportunity to portray himself to the public as a confident businessman who had created a role within the industry that was regarded as a vital service to authors and publishers. However, this interview has highlighted how important it is for researchers to be critical of their sources, as numerous researchers have relied upon this article drawing on the narrative as fact without question, leading to misconceptions.

Policy Implications as Stated By Author


Coverage of Study

Coverage of Fundamental Issues
Issue Included within Study
Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare
Relationship between creative process and protection - what motivates creators (e.g. attribution; control; remuneration; time allocation)?
Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors)
Green-tick.png
Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption)
Green-tick.png
Understanding consumption/use (e.g. determinants of unlawful behaviour; user-generated content; social media)
Coverage of Evidence Based Policies
Issue Included within Study
Nature and Scope of exclusive rights (hyperlinking/browsing; reproduction right)
Exceptions (distinguish innovation and public policy purposes; open-ended/closed list; commercial/non-commercial distinction)
Mass digitisation/orphan works (non-use; extended collective licensing)
Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability)
Green-tick.png
Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts)
Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)

Datasets

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