Syzygy - 3:01 pm on May 1, 2010 (gmt 0)
If you write a joke and utter it in public you still hold the copyright on it.
That is not correct. Uttering a joke to friends is not covered by intellectual property law. Otherwise you may as well say that all conversation is protected by copyright. Sorry, just isn't so.
If you wrote a book with 1 joke, and you uttered that joke in public people would be allowed to repeat it to their friends, making it viral, but they aren't allowed to make a copy of it and publish that copy. Not on their website, not in a book, not in a school newsletter.
Telling a joke to a friend, which they tell to someone else, who then tells 10 other people is not something you can cover with copyright.
If you wrote a book, containing one joke - say it's the one that your friend just told you - and someone then printed or told that joke elsewhere, you would only have copyright protection if:
* the presentation of that joke, and the book, was unique to the author
* the retelling or republication of that joke was identical to the form you published, but
* only if a court/judge determined that your joke - and/or the way in which it was presented - was sufficiently unique, and required enough creative input to be worthy of copyright/IP protection.
If you are a professional comedian (or, indeed, an unprofessional one), you may prove copyright on your works if:
* you can show that you had the material written down prior to performance
* you can show that the ideas behind the joke are original and are not just existing concepts reworked
* you can show that the work was broadcast publicly (just being broadcast will not help you if the joke is not original).
Here's an interesting read on this very subject:
1) You aren't allowed to embed Youtube videos on pages for the sole purpose of advertising around it... which is exactly what they do.
2) You aren't allowed to alter the embed code to make the video behave differently, which is what they are also doing. Embedded Youtube videos have specific functionality, like double clicking takes you to the Youtube page with the original video loaded. Spike's site disables this...
Sites like MySpace and Facebook allow the embedding of content on pages with advertising. The ultimate goals of both sites are to raise revenues through advertising revenues.
MySpace disables the ability to click through to YouTube to watch a video...
As far as the distribution of viral content, and especially videos is concerned, I wonder if they would be classed as public performances and thus have limited copyrights.
...you don't relinquish your rights just because your content went viral...
Sorry, you have to be a bit more specific than this vague term 'went viral'. I'm guessing that you mean here the spread of a url. Actual content can be spread virally - anything that you can embed into an email. By such means, work, that would otherwise have distribution restrictions placed on them because of copyright, forgo such protection because of their very nature. This is my supposition.
Me: I'm not referring to public domain in the intellectual property sense,
You: Should... after all, most countries are Berne Convention signatories these days... that means creation and copyright are invested in final form. And for 75 years after creator's death.
Public Domain is what has passed out of creator copyright OR is intellectual property expressly granted into PD (that's where Open Source butts head with PD... one of those attempting to have cake and eat it, too, kind of things).
Sorry, Tangor. You're still not getting what I'm saying. Yes, yes, Berne Convention/Public Domain - very nice, thank you. But it's not what I'm talking about. LOL!
Perhaps the words 'public property' might mean something similar in your culture? Although now I expect you'll think I'm referring to the local park!
To help, here's a link to a (rather convoluted) article on Wikipedia on 'Public Domain' that goes beyond the simple copyright meanings and should go someway to explaining what I was attempting to get at. For example:
In a general context public domain may refer to ideas, information and works that are "publicly available", but in the context of intellectual property rights public domain refers to ideas, information and works which are intangible to private ownership and/or which are available for use by members of the public, subject to respect for moral rights.
My point is that by spreading and actively encouraging the public dissemination of a work, one cannot subsequently object to it from a legal standpoint.
When all is said and done, I think that each of us is at odds in understanding the points of the others. C'est la vie...