Saturday, April 02, 2011

Today's copyright zinger

Stern v. Does (C.D. Cal. Feb. 10, 2011):

The fact that Plaintiff could have expressed his idea in such a way as to warrant copyright protection, however, has no bearing on whether his actual expression is copyrightable.  A court could deny protection, for instance, to the headline “Pedophile Kidnaps Teenage Girl, Goes To Jail” without calling into doubt Vladimir Nabokov’s copyright in Lolita.

I found this an especially intriguing example given the controversy over the relationship between Nabokov's Lolita and Heinz von Lichberg's Lolita.

Suing over copying of a sentence-long email to a listserv beats out, though just barely, suing over seven seconds of Ed Sullivan introducing a band as a terrible instance of overclaiming copyright rights.

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