Why Do Canada And Europe Copyright Money?

from the questions,-questions,-questions? dept

We've discussed in the past the odd idea that any government should be able to copyright anything it produces, but plenty of governments still do maintain things like "crown copyright" or other similar concepts for content they create. Yet, it looks like some countries have gone one step further. They copyright their money. Yes, Michael Scott points us to a blog post from an American law professor, Eric E. Johnson, who was on a trip to Canada and was surprised to discover that they have copyright notices on their paper currency. Of course, this should make you wonder: if you counterfeit some Canadian money are you also on the hook for copyright infringement violations? Or is there some other reason for the copyright notice. Are they afraid other nations might copy the design without compensation?

Finding the whole thing bizarre, but remembering that I have some Canadian currency from my last trip there, I checked -- and, indeed, in tiny print in the lower right-hand corner, there is a copyright notice. And then... bonus. Tucked in with my Canadian cash was a 5 euro bill as well... and it also appears to have a copyright notice on it right at the top in the center (though, it's tiny). I did a quick search, and indeed, it appears that the design of the euro is also covered by copyright with specific limitations on copying. Of course, I thought that was what counterfeiting laws were for -- so why even bother with copyright?

Filed Under: canada, copyright, currency, europe, money


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  1. identicon
    Valkor, 6 Nov 2009 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: Security through obscurity...

    They sell the exact same play money in grocery stores in the US. It's the wrong size, the wrong color, yet still perfectly recognizable as a representation of money. Toy companies modify the details so as not to create counterfeit money, not to respect "IP" rights on money. I'm quite glad that the standard for counterfeiting is higher than the standard for trademark violation.

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