Clothing Company Sues CBC Over Copyrights For Taping A Fashion Show

from the what-copyrights? dept

Rob Hyndman points us to the news that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is facing a copyright lawsuit for sneaking into a fashion show and filming it. As the article notes, since the event was held on private property, you can make a reasonable argument for trespassing. But copyright? The fashion company is claiming that it should be able to copyright its fashion shows as a “performance,” but it’s difficult to see how a fashion show, by itself, is covered by copyright (what’s the fixed expression?). A film of it would be covered, but in this case, the filming was done by the CBC, so it should own the copyright. The fact that only a limited number of press were invited, and they signed agreements limiting how they would distribute any recordings of the event shouldn’t have any bearing on the copyright question at all. There are some other odd claims in the complaint, such as the fact that the cameraman acted “aggressively” when confronted. I’m unaware of any part of copyright law in which that would matter. All in all, this seems like yet another attempt to abuse copyright law based on a false belief over what it covers, and a misguided sense of “ownership.”

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Companies: cbc

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Comments on “Clothing Company Sues CBC Over Copyrights For Taping A Fashion Show”

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Calin W says:


The way I understand the copyright here in Canada is that if you are the one behind the camera actually taping the footage of the show, you or the company you work for then owns the copyright. Unless the Fashion designer and CBC had an agreement to pay for the footage and costs associated with shooting the show the Fashion designer has no grounds to lodge a copyright complaint.

kyle clements (profile) says:

Re: Copyright

I’m not sure how work-for-hire works, but in general, according to Canadian copyright law, the owner of the film or camera owns the image.
eg. If you take a shot on my camera, with my film, I own that image. If I take a shot on your camera, you own it.

Cameramen sometimes use company equipment, but some cameramen work for hire and own their cameras and bring those to a shoot.

There should be a very stiff penalty for falsely asserting copyright. This is getting beyond ridiculous.

rokr man says:

could you call it theft of services

Since it was private property, the person claiming violation may have some ground.

Depending on the jurisdiction. If the place being filmed was not viewable from public avenues, and their was an expectation that the owner of such venue has all rights to how his property is being used. How about “theft of services?”

Either way, the fashion buffs here may not be able to get CBC for copyright ills, but they can definitely get creative and get some monies by compensation or even bar CBC from using said spy footage.

The fashion show owner is on the right path but the copyright complaint needs more polish. He should be able to get CBC for something though.

kyle clements (profile) says:

Re: could you call it theft of services

Generally, if you are taking photographs on private property, you must stop and leave upon request, but you still own your photographs. If you continue to take photos after being told to stop/leave, you can be charged with trespassing, but it has nothing at all to do with copyright.

And I’m not 100% sure about this, but I *think* that in most cases, you must ignore a request to stop what you are doing and leave *before* that trespassing charge can stick.

DB (profile) says:

Not sure about Canadian law.
But it wasn’t the recording that was copied, was it? It was the live “action”? Now a play can be copyrighted, as can dance choreography, but can simple directions — wear this and walk this way?
I tried to register something kind of analogous for a client — a carefully planned opening “procession” for a sporting event. The (US) copyright application was rejected because the only choreography permitted in the deposit was recognized dance notations. They wouldn’t accept a video of the procession.

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