reb•e•lu•tion (reb’el lu shen) n. a teenage rebellion against the low expectations of an ungodly culture.

10/25/2005

CFA: 5:20 P.M. - 10/25

So, how do you know whether you're infringing someone else's copyright? Well, Mr. Biller provides the following two layman question:

  • Have you taken away the commercial value of the copyrighted good? Are people not going to purchase the original item because of what you’ve done?
  • What is the nature of the copyrighted work? For example, storefronts are made to be seen, so videotaping the front of store should not be an infringement.
This advice sparked the following question: Was the documentary "Supersize Me!" an infringement of McDonald's copyrights? After all, it probably did affect whether many people purchased McDonald's products.

Mr. Biller responded that there were no copyright violations. Morgan Spurlock, director of the documentary, did film the insides of the McDonalds restaurant, but you can’t really copyright the general feel and environment of a restaurant. The closest thing to an infringement would be when he videotaped the menu and the list of ingredients and calories listing. However, even though a lawyer might try to litigate on that issue, a menu is not copyrightable because of the nature of the copyrighted work. Menus are made to be seen. Also, since McDonalds markets food, not menus, the menus and calories listings are not copyrightable. Finally, food is not copyrightable, so Morgan Spurlock is home free.