Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Is This Copyrightable?

I'll start off this post by saying that I am not a lawyer and none of what I say should be construed as legal advice. In addition, most of us here at Mod-Blog are not lawyers and none of what is posted in the comments should be construed as legal advice unless the commenter explicitly states that it is legal advice. There, hopefully we should all be covered now. :)

We recently paid for a home inspector and received a report of his inspection from him. In it, the inspector claimed copyright and stated that the report could not be sold or transferred. Now, given that the cost to file a copyright is $35 if you file electronically and $45 if you file using paper, my guess is that he probably doesn't file actual copyright for each and every report. Still, is it even copyrightable? Wouldn't this fall under a work-for-hire and the copyright would be mine?

Again, none of this is legal advice, just curious everyones' thoughts whether it is "this is how it is" or "this is how it should be".


Nomad said...

You can claim "copyright" on any piece of writing you produce. There is nothing stopping you from doing so. However, to ENFORCE copyright is another matter. You need to show that the work is original, is your own work product, and that it in some way adds to the overall culture. Somehow I doubt a work quote would qualify, but courts have ruled on stranger things.

In reality, it is probably just there to scare people to keep them from reusing the quote on a future sale (especially for people who "flip" property as speculators) without consulting him.

quizwedge said...

One thing that someone mentioned was that it could be similar to how wedding photographers will claim copyright and not let you have the negatives.

Don't have plans to sell it or anything, just found it odd.

Nomad said...

Yeah. My father (a lawyer) used to say, "You can sue anyone over anything. But just because you can sue, doesn't mean you have a case."

It is entirely legal to claim a right that you do not have. It will just be repudiated if it comes before a judge, if you don't actually have that right. And very few people are willing to spend time and money to challenge you, in the end.