Is rap torture?

Comedy story of the week – but with a serious side. Ireland Online reports that Michael Winterbottom, director of The Road to Guantanamo has discovered that Guantanamo detainees are played the music of rap star Eminem at full volume as a form of torture. Winterbottom argues that Eminem should take the US Government to court for copyright infringement.

The first example of infringement of moral rights by context? the IPKat asks. Merpel says that if we was Eminem he’d keep very very quiet about the fact that his music is considered a form of torture.

Da Vinci Code case

The Guardian (and pretty much everyone else) reports on the opening day in the Da Vinci Codes case. It is claimed that Dan Brown, the author of the Da Vinci Codes lifted the theme of the novel from an earlier non-fiction work, the Holy Blood, which argued that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a secret child, the descendants of which the Church was now trying to hide. Brown claims that he had not even read the book at the time that he wrote the synopsis for the Da Vinci Codes. The trial, before Peter Smith J, is expected to last two weeks.

Perhaps the IPKat is missing something here, but surely it’s trite law that an idea can’t be protected by copyright, particularly where it’s one based on supposed fact.
COPYRIGHT CLAIMS COPYRIGHT CLAIMS Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, February 27, 2006 Rating: 5


Cristian said...

I have to say I agree with the IPKAt here. Even if Brown used the "historical facts" uncovered by the researchers, no one (just yet) has a monopoly over the reporting of historical facts. Secondly, the 'central theme' is nothing but the "plot" and the "plot" is ultimately composed of the ideas that underpin the creative work and it has been a central tenant of copyright that it is not designed to protect the ideas, which for the benefit of society (and fellow writers) are free but instead is designed to protect the hard work that goes into expressing these ideas. What we are seeing here is an example of a wider and continued assault on the pillars of copyright (e.g. the ideas/expression divide, fair use etc) both in the UK and in the States coupled with an attempt to blur the lines between copyright and patents not helped by a media which consistently gets the concepts mixed up (as often reported by the IPKat)....Let's hope common sense wins through but if I was being cynical it could just be a wonderful publicity stunt for the publishing house and the film studio behind the Da Vinci film...

Stegz said...

You're right, no-one has the monopoly on reporting historical fact. But no-one is saying the content of "Holy Blood Holy Grail" is historical fact anyway (some believe it to be entirely a work of fiction!). I have read both books. The point is that Brown has borrowed substantially what I would call the creative content (i.e. concepts and ideas which the authors of "Holy Blood" have, shall we say, made up from pieced together fragments of evidence) and not the historical fact. I can see some justice in this because Brown has used practically all of the ideas that the authors of "Holy Blood" came up with, and bear in mind that they say in the book that the ideas are not presented as fact, but as their own "stories". However, it is a bit like Jane Austen (if she was alive) going after Helen Fielding, given that Bridget Jones Diary is essentially Pride and Prejudice.

johnb said...

If the HBHG people have any hope to succeed then presumably they have to admit that their stotryline/plot/concept, or whatever they call what they claim has been pirated, is a work of fiction ? Brown can hardly be blamed for using (alleged) "historical facts", especially when he has acknowledged HBHG as a source.


Paul G said...

My first thoughts on hearing about this case were exactly the same as the IPKat's. And without knowing any more than what has been reported in the press, my thoughts are unchanged. I am left wondering, however, whether the claimants will be relying on something analogous to the 'look and feel' argument in the software copyright cases. This would appear to be the basis for their "arcitecture" argument.

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