Is copyright law making a monkey out of David Slater?

Readers may recall the NBC sitcom Just Shoot Me!, about the life of staff at a fictional fashion magazine.  David Spade’s character, Dennis Finch, often mocked the fashion photographer, Elliot DiMauro, suggesting that even a monkey could do his job.  In one memorable episode, Elliot is nominated for an award and, as the plot develops, he is forced to admit that the photograph was taken by a monkey on rollerskates.

Subjects: Copyright

After years of copyright law reviewing art, an artist reviews copyright law

It is trite law that, while the courts will review whether or not an artistic work has the requisite originality to be subject to copyright, they will not review its artistic merit.  So we were amused to discover that an artist has found artistic merit in copyright law itself, creating works of art out of judgments and (court sanctioned?) apologies for plagiarism.

Subjects: Copyright

‘Whiskas is purple…’

After the parties had settled, it was necessary for Justice Bennett to determine whether Whiskas purple should be registered as a trade mark.   The issue was whether the Registrar of Trade Marks had initially accepted the trade mark application (prior to the objection) on the basis of false evidence.  Her Honour also made observations regarding whether the mark was capable of distinguishing Whiskas cat read more...

Subjects: Trade marks

PPCA Flexes Music Muscles

A decision by the Australian Copyright Tribunal on 17 May ruled that the licence fees paid to the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) for the right to use music in group fitness classes should increase.  The Copyright Tribunal set a new rate of $1 for each attendee at the class or $15 per class (at the gym’s option), representing an annual cost for an average sized gym of $23,400 read more...

Subjects: Copyright

Hey, leave them tracks alone!

A recent decision by the United Kingdom’s High Court could lead parts of the music industry to call into question the common practice of selling individual tracks on the internet where artists specifically intended that the tracks be heard together.  Where artists designed the tracks to be played together to create an overall experience, unbundling the tracks may undermine their artistic integrity.  The iconic rock band Pink Floyd, well-known for concept albums like Dark Side of the Moon, sought to protect the effect created by playing album tracks together by bringing read more...

Subjects: Contracts | Copyright