Tuesday 25 August 2009

Forbidden fruit

Some people may be unimpressed that the new iPhone 3GS can ‘cut, copy & paste’. It’s perhaps a strangely unremarkable feature to choose for a TV ad – and tricky from a copyright law perspective too. Though there are an unlimited number of devices capable of infringing copyright, marketing this kind of functionality looks like a minefield. The ad (here) says:
‘This is the new iPhone and it lets you do some pretty incredible things. You can copy a phone number and paste it in a text. You can copy an article and paste it in an email [shows copying article and photo from lonelyplanet.com]. Or you can copy a map and … well, you get the idea [shows copying Google map]. Copy and paste on the iPhone 3GS. [Final screen: ‘Respect copyright’].’
‘Respect copyright’, coming after copying and emailing the article and photo, seems just a little bit cheeky given how restrictive the UK’s fair dealing provisions are, especially for photography. Perhaps Apple has an agreement with Lonely Planet but what about the rest of us? Apple is no stranger to objections that its ads are making misleading claims – for the iPhone’s speed or uniqueness. How about a misleading claim in terms of copyright law?

Anyway, if you’re reading this on your iPhone, whatever you do, don’t cut, copy & paste the photograph above and email it. Photographer Louis Psihoyos is currently suing Apple for $2,000,000 for using it in its i.TV app.

Respect Copyright.

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