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Old September 30th, 2009, 04:45 PM   #1
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Joke into short?

I have a couple of jokes a friend emailed to me, and I'm considering developing them into shorts; however I'm not sure what kind of license/release/credit I would need as I don't know whose joke it is. I did some googling on the subject to no avail. Can somebody point me in the right direction?
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Old September 30th, 2009, 09:23 PM   #2
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You might need to share the joke with us so that we can offer further assistance. We'll also tell you if it is funny.

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Old October 1st, 2009, 03:57 PM   #3
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If you dedicate your film to Milton Berle, you legally have to use stolen material.
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Old October 1st, 2009, 06:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Walker View Post
If you dedicate your film to Milton Berle, you legally have to use stolen material.
HAHAHAHA!

That was awesome.

The OP raises a good question though.....can "jokes" be copyrighted? Obviously, if a comedian is known for a certain "bit", and can prove he originated it and has been using it, I could see where there might be an issue. For example, if someone made a short based on George Carlin's "Seven Words" bit......but what about a short based on a knock-knock joke?

I think it would be very hard to claim "copyright infringement" on the reproduction or performance of a joke.....unless it was a verbatim recitation of a previous performer's work.....otherwise stand-up comedians wouldn't be able to exist.


But what are the legal aspects of this question?
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 01:59 AM   #5
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An idea (a joke in this case) cannot be copyrighted until it exists in a physical form. Therefore telling a joke to a friend bares no copyright (still your intellectual property but not copyright). If however you were to record that joke or write it down copyright would exist.

So this email you have maybe copyrighted in some way but who do the rights belong to? A question that you probably never be able to answer. Alternatively, the joke may belong in creative commons or public domain...

Chances of finding a copyright owner are probably slim to none. What are the chances of them finding you? And if this email is well circulated it would be hard for anyone to prove that they own the copyright for it, if copyright exists at all.

As far as what actions you should take, I honestly don't know... I'm just trying to help you make an informed decision.
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Old October 2nd, 2009, 03:51 AM   #6
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Now, about that joke ....
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