Take My Gag, Please!Joke Theft and Copyright in Stand-up Comedy

May, Shaun (2013) Take My Gag, Please!Joke Theft and Copyright in Stand-up Comedy. Comedy Studies, 4 (2). pp. 195-203. ISSN 2040-610X. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1386/cost.4.2.195_1) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/cost.4.2.195_1

Abstract

Modern comedians are very protective of their material, and those comedians that gain a reputation for using others' gags are liable to find themselves shunned both socially and professionally. Although comedians in the United Kingdom have threatened each other with legal action for joke theft, perhaps the most notable recent case being Jimmy Carr threatening Jim Davison in 2004, there is no precedent of such an incident going to trial in the United Kingdom and very few cases in the United States. Moreover, there is no consensus amongst scholars regarding whether jokes are protected by the law. In this article I will attempt to clarify the situation. Drawing on the work of A. D. Madison, Y. Mikhaylova and D. Oliar and C. Sprigman, I will elucidate the extent to which jokes are covered by existing legislation in the United Kingdom and the United States, whether common defenses against accusations of joke theft are liable to hold up in court and what comedians can do to prevent such infringement.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: K Law > KD England and Wales
K Law > KF United States Federal Law
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1655 Drama
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1969.C65 Comedy Acts
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of Arts > Drama and Theatre
Depositing User: Shaun May
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2015 16:26 UTC
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2015 13:42 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/49200 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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