Category Archives: what is copyright?

Patisserie update!

Insert your own “copyright / “piece of cake” caption here

I’ve come across some interesting copyright-related Twitter accounts lately: @copyrightgirl, @copyrightlaws* and the CLA’s own “ProtectingCreativity‏” account (@CLA_UK) are are all good for keeping up with news items, legal developments and some of the wider issues with getting the copyright message across.

In an attempt to persuade you that there’s more to copyright than turgid legalese, here are some of the more entertaining stories I’ve seen on Twitter lately. As always I’d be interested to know if any of these strike a chord with you.

In time honoured Pick of the Pops-style fashion, this month’s Top 5 copyright stories come to you in reverse order:

5: Users of social photo-sharing website Pinterest may be walking into a copyright minefield.

4: Some interesting–and rather late (sorry ’bout that)–Halloween-related copyright facts. Zombies, vampires and such…

3: News of an optimistic law suit fired Sony’s way about the (mis)quoting of a William Faulkner line in Woody Allen’s film “Midnight in Paris”.

2: A story here to back up my “Beware Google Images!” mantra. If you steal images from the internet you can get yourself into serious trouble on prime time TV news (with apologies for third party profanity).

And this month’s Number One copyright story is…

…about cakes. Bad cakes to be precise. It features a cynical attempt by the bakery department of a major supermarket chain to stop people adding photos of its badly-designed cakes and invoking copyright law to justify doing so. Are cakes covered by copyright? A heated debate ensues!

(Image: Creative Commons Licence courtesy of alalsacienne.)


What is copyright?

The CLA have posted some interesting videos on their YouTube page.

They’ve interviewed various people and asked them to say what copyright means for them. There are a few different points of view: a university copyright officer, a freelance photographer, an educational author and a number of people working in the publishing industry.

Here are some choice quotes (see if you can match the quote to the speaker):

  • “[Copyright] is something even the very young can understand”.
  • “I get a royalty statement twice a year…. It’s a complete delight [that my work is still selling after sometimes 20 years]… I benefit financially but also just emotionally. I love… knowing that [my work] is still out there… that it’s still being used and people are still liking it”.
  • “When I rang them up and said excuse me but you’ve got my images, they said ‘Oh the Web Designer said it’s fine because they’re on the internet’. No!”
  • “I like to talk about copyright a lot because I really enjoy it.”

The videos are worth dipping into. It’s good to get the perspective of those who really lose out on a personal as well as professional level because of copyright infringement–the photographer, Jemma Watts, is particularly good at articulating this.

And I also like this definition of copyright, from Mel Thompson, educational author, which you can equally apply to internet-based resources: “If you buy a book, you don’t buy the words, the story or the illustrations in that book…all you buy is… the access to be able to enjoy and use those things… It’s simply access. It’s not ownership.”

(Image: Creative Commons licence from gaelx)

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