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Sunday, 19 September 2004

CUCKOO FOR COPYRIGHT

The BBC reports on the copyright conundrum of a local amateur dramatics group that ran into trouble with a West End production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The am-dram group from Alrewas, Staffordshire was told to abandon its production since it might interfere with the London show, starring Hollywood actor Christian Slater. However, the group was determined that the show should go on since it had booked a theatre, started selling tickets and was about to send out publicity material. The company emailed the playwright, who promptly responded granting them performing rights. "The idea that we were seen as such a threat to a big West End show 120 miles away is unbelievable” said the director. The copyright agents have subsequently confirmed that the embargo on performances applies to London only.

The IPKat says that this goes to show how the copyright world is different from the normal world. In the normal world, limiting the provision of goods or services to a single undertaking could be seen as anticompetitive market division, but in the copyright world, this is perfectly OK. In fact, the copyright owner doesn’t have to grant the rights to any undertaking and allowing the Staffordshire group to perform the play is a non-mandatory concession on the part of the playwright.

Things to do with birds’ nests here, here and here
Visit the cuckoo’s nest here

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