Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sign-Spinners

One of the essay questions on my Copyright exam asked whether Bikram yoga could be copyrighted. As a matter of fact, it already is - my professor won the case.

I saw this post on TechDirt about an ad company attempting to patent the moves by street-corner sign-spinners in Los Angeles. (If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about. I'll try and find a link.)

I don't know why they would patent it - maybe the article is wrong - when it seems to me they'd have a good chance of copyrighting it. An original sequence of fixed, unprotectable moves in the public domain (AKA "facts") can be copyrighted as a "selection and arrangement."

UPDATE: Check out this poster's comment on the work-for-hire problems that a sign-spinner would face if s/he went to a different company!

2 comments:

some guy said...

My copyright exam had a question about compulsory licenses for music. What the fuck? I was counting on that not being on the exam.

Wayne said...

Sign Spinners do it with Coroplast Signs. Seriously, I'm sign spinner. I do it on the weekends mainly for extra income. I really don't see how anyone could patent the moves. The patent means nothing without enforcement and who is actually going to bother to stand around and watch spinners to see if they are violating ownership rights. Very very odd. But interesting article.