Canada's National Post is trying to convince a court that article titles should be copyrightable, overturning centuries of law and practice. Well, that's dumb. (Thanks, Chris!)

13 Responses to “National Post wants to copyright article titles”

  1. would this only be enforced in ‘Murica’s hat?

  2. cybele says:

    I feel like I should start putting up a couple million blog posts that are just titles right now so I can copyright troll the hell out of that later.

    • TheOven says:

      That’s probably how this should be dealt with if it happens. Dig deep into NP’s past headlines and sue them for every one that matches some other newspaper’s headlines.

  3. GTA_John says:

    From wikipedia:  In 1986, Foot was the subject of one of the best-known newspaper headlines of all time. The Times ran an article about Foot, who had been put in charge of a nuclear disarmament committee. The headline stated “Foot Heads Arms Body.”

    The important thing to note is that headlines and subheads are written by a different person other than the journalist(s).  As the story is written, it is given a “slug” or a tag to identify it but the actual writing of the headline is by a different person.

    The article is clearly subject to copyright.  So it seems that the argument really comes down to “after how many words does something become worthy of copyright?” 

    As a final thought, Hemmingway is reputed to have written a story in 6 words:  “For sale: baby shoes never worn.”  Assuming, for the sake of argument, that he actually did write that … those six words would certainly have been covered by copyright in various jurisdictions. 

    While I may not like the position taken by the National Post (and, for the record, I don’t and I am a subscriber), it seems they may have a valid argument.

    • elix says:

      How would you ever cite a National Post article in reference to anything, ever again, without their explicit permission?

  4. Gerald Mander says:

     Can’t wait to see the legal wrangling over “My Summer Vacation” and “Mother.”

  5. Peter says:

    Although it’s bad overall, at the very least, maybe it would get us away from every newspaper using the exact same bad puns when certain types of stories appear.  

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