Saturday, June 24, 2006


Bad Journalism, and Intellectual Property

Does anyone want to count the number of gross factual errors in this story? I count at least six.

Oh, and I've decided that there should be a complete moratorium on anyone--journalist, blogger, or message-board poster--discussing anything related to intellectual property cases if they don't know a) the difference between copyright and trademark, b) that IP laws differ from country to country, c) how trademarks are defended, and d) how copyright terms have been extended, in the US and elsewhere.

In this specific instance, Thomas Wagner would have fallen the first hurdle, as clearly both (b) and (d) have completely eluded him (and possibly (c), as well). I understand that the details of the Peter Pan copyright might be a little complex, but a few moments' investigation is all it takes to discover that the original works featuring the character are in the public domain in the US, and that an spurious attempt by the British copyright holders to prevent derivative works is currently being challenged by none other than Lawrence Lessig. Oh, and that the only reason that Peter Pan didn't enter the public domain in 1987 in the UK is as the result of a special act of Parliament.

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