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So there are limits to IPR

October 3, 2014

Intellectual Property lies at the heart of many litigations. Negotiations over IP have boosted this topic into the top five negotiated terms and there is hardly a contract these days that does not include some sort of IP clause.

While most of us applaud the concept of IP rights and the ability of inventors and artists to gain rewards for their work, many are also concerned about the constraints this can impose on future invention and creativity, as well as the scope of what might be deemed ‘an invention’. Too often, patents and copyrights appear more as ‘get rich quick’ schemes or deliberate restraints of trade.

It may therefore come as a relief to learn that self-portraits by animals are not deemed registrable by the US Copyright Office. The latest draft of its Compendium’s third edition states that registration of “works produced by nature, animals or plants” shall be rejected, and only original works performed by human beings shall be registered.

The issue has arisen because a monkey stole a camera and proceeded to take multiple photographs, including a ‘selfie’. Some of these pictures were reproduced on the internet and went viral. Wikipedia was challenged by the camera owner, who claimed copyright.

Given the constant drive to reduce costs through labor arbitrage, this should act as a warning to anyone intending to use animals in the production of intellectual property.

One Comment
  1. Roselle Harde permalink


    Sent from my iPad

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