Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Copyright Leaps Over Tall Buildings

In the usual debates over copyright, the interests of content owners like motion picture studios are set in opposition to consumers. This binary araying of interests is, of course, woefully incomplete. A consumer may be making a tranformative use, while many disputes are between two authors or between two motion picture studios. The following story from di-ve illustrates this point:

Copyright problems for "Hollywoodland"

by Mario Azzopardi

Monday, 08 January, 2007

One of the films released this week, is the mystery thriller "Hollywoodland". Adrien Brody plays a detective who examines the mysterious death of actor George Reeves, TV's Superman in the fifties. Ben Affleck, winner of best actor award at last year's Venice Film Festival, plays Reeves.

The film, unceremoniously met several copyright difficulties. Warner Bros., who own the TV rights, refused to grant permission for the use of the actual TV opening credits.

DC Comics, who own the rights to the Superman character, refused to allow the Superman "S" insignia in any of the trailers or promotional material of the film, but allowed it to be in the actual movie!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Assuming that there are valid copyrights that were used in an amount substantial enough to sustain a claim of infringement, aren't both of these "objectionable" uses transfomative?

William Patry said...

That would be the argument.

Patti Winters said...

I have a question. If a book has been a copyright from the LOC under a title and someone else publishes a book with the same title but different information is that copyright infringement?

William Patry said...

Copyright in the U.S. doesn't extend to titles and there can be no copyright infringement without taking expression

Patti Winters said...

Thank you, I appreciate your assistance.

Luminous (\รด/) Luciano ™ said...

Verily, it is good that the expressionless will never be sued for infringing any copyrights whatsoever - not even that on impassive looks held by Robert Vaughn.

It does not surprise me one iota that DC Comics was incongruous enough in its actions to object to the use of the insignia in the ads but to allow it in the film. They figured that it was really about George, not Clark, and besides "every publicity is good publicity" for their poor heralded return of their latest ubermensch in tights to the big screen...

Not since Vaughn was in the 3rd film that it was this bad - Kevin Spacey taking most of the blame but not all of it...
However, that is another story.