Saturday, June 24, 2006

Alan Moore vs the Copyright fairies

While we're considering pop culture and IT law (great stuff for a GikII paper here!) the IPKat reports that Alan Moore, father of the graphic novel is potentially running into trouble with his latest project,a graphic novel called Lost Girls which is "a meeting between Wendy (of Peter Pan), Alice (of Alice in Wonderland) and Dorothy of The Wizard of Oz) once they have grown up". It is also allegedly "erotic fiction at its finest". Hmm. As every IP lawyer knows of course, there is a specific exception in UK copyright law (s.300 of the CDPA )which grants perpetual copyright in J M Barrie's Peter Pan, which goes to the Great Ormond Street Hospital by virtue of a legacy to the hospital in Barrie's will. And the hospital are apparently deeply unhappy with being connected with this project and its possible paedophilic implications, and may seek to have publication banned in the UK and Europe.

The IPKat suggests that "the hospital [has after 2007] a right to royalties, not the full rights of a copyright owner. This would mean that the hospital could make money from the novel, but not that it could stop its distribution." Others suggest the whole idea of perpetual copyright, even as a pleasing anomaly given the storyline of Peter Pan , should be abolished. Alan Moore himself is no stranger to copyright fights: the tangled tale of Marvelman, Miracleman, Moore, DC, and Gaiman et al is too confusing to even begin to tell here. Moore, after various disputes, has also refused to allow film adapations of any of his works to which he still owns full copyright and has removed his name from adaptations he cannot control, even where they have been critically well received as with the recent V for Vendetta. He is a formidable adversary in respect of his work, and it will be interesting to see where this dispute goes next.

No comments: