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Tuesday, 22 June 2004

IPKAT RIDDLE: COPYRIGHT, YOUR NUMBER IS UP


The IPKat has seen details of a case on BoingBoing that was (from his point of view) unfortunately settled. Irdial, a small US record label released a CD containing recordings that it made of “numbers stations” which are “radio stations where a neutral voice recites mysterious numbers and codes, presumed to be part of the international espionage system”. Another label, WEA, sampled Irdial’s recordings. Irdial claimed that WEA has infringed its copyright in its recordings. They based their entitlement to copyright on 3 grounds: (1) radio interference in their recording made it unique; (2) they edited the recording to make it interesting and (3) they processed the recording to make it clearer. WEA gave in to Irdial’s claim but what the IPKat wants to know is, how would this claim have been decided under UK law? The usual prize to the person who provides the best answer.

More radio-inspired copyright works here and here
More on numbers stations here, here and here

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Irdial is not a label from the US, it is a label from the UK. The case was brought in the High Court in London, where they would have certainly won, according to UK copyright law.

When you record something, the copyright in the medium you used to make the recording belogs to you. This is a separate copyright to the one that protects the IP of the sound in the recording. The Conet Project is a collection of privately made recordings, all of which have protection under UK copyright law on this basis.

Its the same aspect of copyright law that protects recordings in the British Library, which you are not allowe to go in and copy for commercial use, even though they may have been sorced from out of copyright cylinders or 78s

WEA manufactured milions of infringing copies, and expected to pay nothing, despite the fact that the CDS are clearly marked as copyrighted. Presumably this is why Irdial had to go to the extreme measure of instigating a High Court action to bring them to book.

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