Saturday, 28 April 2012

Copyright protects what?

The self-styled Intellectual Property Office's "IP Insight" offers a piece on how to protect a recipe, which includes this remarkable paragraph:
Copyright is the area of Intellectual which protects: literacy, dramatic, musical and artistic work; it provides the owner with control over how the work is issued to the public, reproduced, performed, published, adapted or broadcast.
Even if you're trying to dumb your message down for the benefit of a lay audience (which doesn't have to mean patronising them, incidentally) it's unhelpful to omit the essential adjective "original" from that list of what copyright protects. It's also misleading to say that a patent will protect a concept - where do they get this rubbish from?

But copyright has never protected literacy, though on this showing it certainly needs protection from somewhere ...

I have said before, and will keep on saying, that it is not and should not be the Patent Office's job to give advice on intellectual property matters. If there is an unmet need for such advice, there are other ways of providing it and thousands of professionals ready and willing to give it. I do not approve of the use of taxpayers' (or applicants'!) money to create a state-funded rival to professional advisers - and when they offer misinformation of this standard, the case against surely becomes overwhelming.

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