Utynam's Heirs


A monthly column devoted to IP curiosities and controversies, named in honour of John of Utynam - who received the world's first recorded patent in 1449

diary@managingip.com

Fair(y) use?

Utynam was delighted to stumble across a Disney guide to copyright law on the internet this month.

The 10-minute "A Fair(y) Use Tale" film, which wisely makes it clear at the beginning that it has nothing to do with Disney, was produced by Bucknell University professor Eric Faden to explain copyright law.

The film uses tiny snippets of dialogue from Disney characters to define copyright rules. At times the level of surrealism rivals anything in the entertainment company's own cartoons.

The highlight is hearing characters from Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan and Dumbo chorus: "So, the public domain is necessary for a living, thriving society. Duh!"

A lot of people find IP law devilishly complicated and Utynam applauds any attempt to make the subject easier to understand. He also hopes that Disney's lawyers stopped tearing their hair out long...


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