Dave Brown

Research Area:

Copyright and Filmmaking

Thesis (2018):

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

Often, existing artistic works are used in part by other creators as a means to create new artistic works. Copyright law attempts to strike a balance between the rights of the user and the protections of the copyright owner. In Canada, there remains much ambiguity in copyright law as it pertains to performance-based art forms such as stand-up comedy. Protections exist for literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works but also for subject-matter other than works such a performers’ performance. There are also exceptions to these rights where users of copyrighted material are protected. This thesis project, the web series Killing Gerry, seeks to examine copyright law in its present form, and to illuminate the limitations of the law in balancing user and owner protections. It will also compare the law with existing community norms that have arisen in the stand-up community to help creators protect their work.