by Hugh Stephens, 14 September 2021
The physiotherapy and exercise prescribed for the wife of Hugh Stephens after she broke her wrist prompted the Canadian copyright expert and former Time Warner executive to ponder the differences between ideas that can – and cannot – be protected by copyright law.
“Assertion of copyright is simple and straightforward (one of the major advantages of this form of intellectual property, compared to the more costly and legalistic processes required to register a trademark or secure a patent, for example). The ubiquitous © sign is not even required, although to affix it is a good idea as this is a conscious assertion of copyright,” he writes.
“The principle of what can be copyrighted, and what cannot—based on the distinction between ideas and facts on the one hand, and the original expression of ideas and facts on the other—is a fundamental if sometimes blurred principle.
“Who else in history has connected Google v Oracle with Walter v Steinkopff (1892) with a Chinese court’s copyright finding on a water fountain display with my wife’s hand clinic physiotherapy instructions? It qualifies for the big ©!”
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