Astrid Bovell on October 31st, 2012
Happy Halloween Everyone!
I’ve written about Copyright Zombies before, but today I found out some really interesting history on another copyright related blog (Plagiarism Today) about the modern zombie and how copyright in a way gave birth to the pretty much worldwide adoption of what we understand zombies to be!
In Australia, copyright is automatic and applies as soon as you express your idea in a physical format – like writing it down, filming it, drawing it etc and there’s a really good reason why that’s the case. Imagine if copyright wasn’t automatic and you created something really high profile and in the midst of everything that was going on, you forgot to follow the procedure for copyrighting your work? Everyone takes hold of your idea and does things with it (because they can!) and you miss out on obscene amounts of money….
Well, once upon a time in the US, their copyright law dictated such a process and at that time, a certain director was forgetful and as a result,he unwittingly released his new zombie concept into the public domain which lead to exactly that….. Interested to learn the rest? Read the Plagiarism Today entry on How a Copyright Mistake Created the Modern Zombie
Interestingly one can argue how this story beautifully illustrates the paths that diverge in the wood of Open Access….. On one hand, yes, some money was missing from the director’s pocket…. but on the other hand, at the end of the day – was it really a bad thing? Think of the notoriety gained from the success of the film, think of how he shot to fame, think of how the widespread popularity allowed him to make money from numerous sequels… Imagine what would have happened to the modern zombie that many of us love so much? Had the film been heavily protected by copyright, would people around the world still unite together with their adoration for zombies like they do now?
Thinking again about those two paths diverged in the wood makes me wonder if all roads lead to Rome…. and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me think of Roman zombies… 😉