In this Article, we explore a central problem facing creative industries: how to organize collaborative creative production. We argue that informal rules are a significant and pervasive—but nonetheless underappreciated—tool for solving the problem. While existing literature has focused on how informal rules sustain incentives for producing creative work, we demonstrate how such rules can facilitate and organize collaboration in the creative space.
We also suggest that informal rules can be a better fit for creative organization than formal law. On the one side, unique features of creativity, especially high uncertainty and low verifiability, lead to organizational challenges that formal law cannot easily address, as demonstrated by recent high profile cases like Garcia v. Google, Inc. On the other side, certain informal rules can meet these challenges and facilitate organization. These informal rules, functioning through mechanisms like reputation and trust, can sustain organizational solutions without a manager, a hierarchical firm, or formal allocation of control rights. In addition to showing how informal rules can work without (much) formal law, we also sketch out the dynamics involved in more complex cases where informal rules function alongside formal law in organizing collaborative creativity.