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QLD Is Publishing Showtime Information of Movies Subject to Copyright?

Discussion in 'Intellectual Property Law Forum' started by Jaap van der Velde, 4 June 2016.

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  1. Jaap van der Velde

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    I know that information published on the websites of cinemas, theatres and museums can be subject to copyright, but my first question is this: is it legal to publish information like the title of a showing (movie, play, exposition) and the show time, or is even basic information like this covered by copyright?

    I'd like to stress I realize that anything creative (show thumbnail, blurb, maybe even list of cast, etc.) could be considered intellectual property, but is factual information like the show time or the exact venue where it's shown as well?

    And if it does turn out to be illegal, a follow-up question is this: is it legal to provide people with a platform to share this type of information with others, provided of course that reasonable measures are taken to avoid the sharing of copyrighted material? Or to put it another way: is there a difference between (commercially or freely) publishing this type of information or personally sharing it with a community?

    Any links to material I should read welcome.
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    I'm not an IP/copyright person but I remember a similar set of facts in IceTV Pty Ltd v Nine Network Australia Pty Ltd.

    Google the result of that case.
     
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  3. Jaap van der Velde

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    Good one, thanks, but there's some things there that may be relevant distinctions. First of all, it's about broadcasting (TV) and not about shows in a specific venue. I can see owners of the venues making the case that their schedules are different and that they should be allowed to decide how it reaches people - for television, the channel is delivered to your home device; it's effectively entirely virtual and this is not so for a theatre.

    A relevant snippet from an article about it though: "The High Court went back to one of the bases of copyright law: namely that copyright is to protect the expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. While the skill and labour used to create the work are important when considering infringement, the focus must be directed to the originality of the particular form of expression.

    Here, Channel Nine put together the titles of television programs and the times they would be shown. These are basic facts. There is no originality in the way these facts have been expressed as they were merely presented in chronological order.

    Channel Nine established that skill and labour was used in making programming decisions, such as what program was to be broadcast in a particular time slot. However, this skill and labour was not directed to the particular form of the time and title information that IceTV reproduced. Consequently it had no bearing on whether the that information was original or a substantial part Channel Nine's copyright works."

    Sounds hopeful at least. I'd still need to figure out a way to 'launder' the information though. Barring physically going to the theater or trawling for newspapers and magazine that don't have similar provisions, I'd have to rely on the information on their websites and they contain specific stipulations that the schedule *is* copyrighted and not to be reproduced. I wonder if those stipulations are effectively unlawful/not binding or that the only way to get this to work is to find out about the info in other ways.
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    As you mentioned, anyone can make those claims but it doesn't make them enforceable. I can't comment on copyright as my knowledge of copyright laws is almost non-existent.

    FYI Google already does something similar to what you propose. Google 'movie showtimes'.
     
  5. Jaap van der Velde

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    Yeah, thanks, good tip for whoever is reading - I'm familiar with what Google has there and it does the job right now, but it would be nice to search and compare. Also, Google is missing some smaller venues and special features. Reusing what Google is offering isn't allowed as they don't offer it on their API, but I guess figuring out how Google gets what they have might be worthwhile.
     

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