The author has not always existed. The image of the author as a wellspring of originality, a genius guided by some secret compulsion to create works of art out of a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings, is an 18th century invention. This image continues to influence how people speak about the “great artists” of history, and it also trickles down to the more modest claims of the intellectual property regime that authors have original ideas that express their unique personality, and therefore have a natural right to own their works—or to sell their rights, if they should choose. Although these ideas appear self-evident today, they were an anomaly during their own time.
Nimus, Anna. “Copyright, Copyleft and the Creative Anti-Commons.” subsol (2006), accessed October 17, 2015, http://subsol.c3.hu/subsol_2/contributors0/nimustext.html.