Is my joke protected by copyright? : an analysis of joke theft and copyright in stand-up comedy

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Brown, David Lawrence
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Fine Arts
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Department of New Media
Often, existing artistic works are used in part by other creators as a means to create new artistic work. Copyright law attempts to strike a balance between the rights of the user and the protections of the copyright owner. In Canada, there is some ambiguity in copyright law as it pertains to performance-based art forms such as stand-up comedy. Stand-up comedy creations may be protected as literary or as this paper argues, dramatic works. A performer’s performance of comedic work is also protected, but comedians still may not be adequately protected by copyright law. The web series Killing Gerry coupled with this support paper, seeks to examine a specific example of an alleged infringement on copyright to illuminate limitations of the law for stand-up comedians.
This Thesis Paper is submitted in support of the MFA Thesis Project Killing Gerry, a web series that examines potential copyright infringement in stand-up comedy and artistic creations as a whole. The web series uses copyright protected works under the fair dealing and UGC protections offered by the Copyright Act as a means to illuminate potential limitations of or ambiguities within the Act's copyright protections.
Copyright -- Artistic performance , Copyright -- Performing rights , Copyright infringement , Stand-up comedy , Comedy -- Authorship , Wit and humor -- Authorship , joke ownership , joke theft