Stand Up Comedy Case Study

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The application of copyright laws to the art of stand-up comedy became a serious topic of investigation for legal scholar because there is a demand of more protection for jokes’ protection. A famous American comedian, Patton Oswalt, who has been a victim of joke-stealing, wrote a post on his website claiming for more protection of his creations. He complained about the fact that the popular belief that stealing material between each other is so common, so regular in the stand-up comedy that copyright protection is useless. Such presumption devalues the work produced by comedians to create new material. As Oswalt argued, ‘being funny is like any other talent – some people are born with it, and then, through diligence and hard work and a lot…show more content…
But in these actions, the defendants were companies such as book authors and publishers or others businesses. For example, an American comedian, Jeff Foxworthy sued a T-shirt manufacturer for copyright infringement after discovering the company was selling tee-shirts with his jokes printed on them. For now, there are very few lawsuits between comedians; this is to say instances where a comedian steals a joke from another comedian to deliver it on stage. According to the few legal scholars that focus on this topic, this absence of lawsuit is related to the fact that copyright protection is deemed to be weak or inexistent. Even if the fact that jokes deserve protection is rarely refuted, a majority of writers argued that the present copyright law does not allow such protection. The main reason would be that, according to current copyright law, the expression of an idea is protected, but not the idea itself. The line between the expression of the joke and the underlying idea of the joke is sometimes difficult to draw. For many commentators, jokes…show more content…
Yet, comedians need to protect their material from unauthorised misuse. Modern comedians of stand-up comedy produce their own material, which requires time and effort. Thus, comic material becomes a valuable expression which deserves protection because the comedian makes a living out of this activity. Compensating the author for his creative effort is the principal reason copyright protection is provided to works of authorship. . One feature of jokes is that they have a short-lived value . Once a joke has been told, it loses this value because the audience want to hear an original joke and be surprised and amused. Then it is very important for the jokes writer to have exclusive control over his comedic

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