Author Claims Copyright Over Interview He Gave 20 Years Ago
from the that's-not-how-copyright-works dept
According to Bryson's publishers Transworld, a division of Random House, you may not. Transworld wrote to Gerrard stating that Bryson did not authorise additional publication of the interview, or sale as an e-book beyond the contemporaneous interview for the magazine.That last line is not true. As plenty of people have pointed out, if that were true, it would basically make journalism impossible, because anyone who didn't like a quote could demand it be taken down. That's not how copyright law works.
Furthermore, Transworld's lawyers argue that Bryson remains the owner of the words spoken by him.
Furthermore, Gerrard has been pointing out repeatedly that many of Bryson's own books involve him quoting others, and jokingly wonders what would happen if one of those people sought to claim copyright on one of Bryson's books. From the initial story in World Travel Market (linked above), it appears that Gerrard is willing to fight back over this claim. He's talking to lawyers to better understand what he can do.
Of course, Gerrard oddly quotes a US legal precedent against having a copyright in your own words, but it appears that both he and Bryson are based in the UK, so I'd imagine that any legal discussion would be under UK law which, tragically and stupidly, doesn't have fair use like American law has. Still, it does have fair dealing, though that should only come into play if Bryson has a legitimate copyright interest in his spoken words, and that seems unlikely -- though, having some UK copyright experts chime in would be nice. From a quick glance, it looks like there's no legitimate copyright interest here, and even if there was, there would either be a fair dealing defense for the purpose of journalism, or an implied license or some sort in the granting of the original interview.
Either way, it seems like yet another attempt to abuse copyright law for censorship, rather than any legitimate purpose.