The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.
Gustave Flaubert

Thursday 10 March 2011


One who gives direction to something: in company law, one who directs a company and who may in certain circumstances bear personal liability for the debts of the company, and in UK copyright law (where the company law definition may also be relevant, as offences committed by bodies corporate with the consent or connivance of a director may also be committed by that individual) the person who stamps their artistic vision on a film. The principal director is considered a joint author of a copyright film (the other joint author being the producer, qv) and his or her lifetime is taken into account in calculating the duration of copyright in the film. The lifetimes of the author the screenplay, the author of the dialogue and the composer of any music specially written for and used in the film are also taken into account: once they have all passed on the clock runs for 70 years.

The director is therefore functionally equivalent to the author (qv) of other types of copyright work, and given the propensity of the legislative draftsman to call all manner of commercial interests ‘authors’ it seems odd that this distinction should have been made in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. French copyright law seems to have no problem with regarding directors as ‘auteurs’, while declining to dignify record companies, broadcasters and the like with the title.

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