The dematerialization of art that began in the 1960s has reached new heights with the use of electronic media. We are at an important crossroads in defining intellectual property rights that will have a direct impact on the way we create and disseminate electronic art in the future. This paper examines the historical evolution of the definition of “author” in copyright law. The paper shows how current copyright legislation and recent court decisions do not address the plasticity of the medium and the new forms of authorship that are defined by the artistic use of techniques such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, hypermedia links and collaborative networking.

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