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Sunday, 12 October 2003

COPYRIGHT: ETRE ET AVOIR?

The Daily Telegraph reports on a copyright dispute that has arisen out of the successful French film “Etre et Avoir”. The film recorded a year in the life of a one-class school in the Auvergne mountains and its teacher Georges Lopez. Now Monsieur Lopez is claiming that he has copyright in the lessons that were featured in the film as they were his own original creations. However, the film’s director, Nicolas Philbert has said that the film was made with Lopez’s complete cooperation and that, in any event, any copyright would be owned by state education system.

The IPKat makes the following comments: (i) before embarking on a project of this nature, the parties should ensure that their respective rights are clearly agreed on and recorded in writing; (ii) from a legal point of view the fact that the film was made with Lopez’s complete cooperation would not appear to have any bearing on the issue of ownership of the copyright, although presumably M Philibert means to say that M Lopez consented to the waiving of any rights that he had; (iii) since a “lesson” in itself is not a recognised category of copyright-protected work, Monsieur Lopez is presumably claiming that it is a literary or dramatic work (since he did not make the film and the film is in any event a free-standing work apart from the lessons, his rights would presumably vest in the film’ subject-matter only and not the film itself); (iv) nothing has been said about the role of the pupils in the lessons. To the extent that their participation was required, could they be said to be either performers or joint authors of the work ultimately performed?

Find out about the Auvergne region here
Learn to tell your etre from your avoir here
Go back to school here


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