First and foremost, I should explain that my knowledge of Canadian legal history is mediocre at best. For example, during a recent conversation about capital punishment, a friend asked me when the last hanging in Canada was. 745 more words
Intellectual property law is a mess. David Smith at the scholarly kitchen has an interesting article asking who owns a copyright if a monkey takes a selfie. One of the key difficulties with copyright law is that the answer may be different depending on where you live. Each country has their own copyright laws and very different attitudes towards private intellectual property rights vs. fair use. Copyright laws try to balance these important policies. We want to protect the rights of artists, but we do not want to allow Shakespeare’s heirs to prevent the creation of West Side Story or Ran. In the case, the question is slightly different. Under United States law the author owns the copyright and US courts would never give a monkey a copyright. While this may appear to an absurd (but real) example, it is not difficult to imagine this scenario in other ways. Someone asks Hugh Jackman to take a selfie with their camera or using a photo booth at your local mall. Should the owner of the camera be allowed to sell Jackman’s selfie to a tabloid or would that be a copyright violation? Who owns those copyrights could have very different answers depending on where you live. What’s different today is that the internet is not under the jurisdiction of any single country’s copyright laws.