[okfn-discuss] Copyright on crosswords

David Jones drj at pobox.com
Tue Sep 27 13:00:20 UTC 2011

Hmm, I thought the UK had a "work for hire" rule, but it's not quite so simple:

from http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/48/section/11

11 First ownership of copyright.

(1)The author of a work is the first owner of any copyright in it,
subject to the following provisions.

(2)Where a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work [F1, or a
film,] is made by an employee in the course of his employment, his
employer is the first owner of any copyright in the work subject to
any agreement to the contrary.

So if I employ Auracaria to produce a crossword then I have the
copyright.  However, if I buy a service from "We Can Make Crosswords
For You Limited" and they employ Auracaria to make a crossword, then
they have the copyright.

I suppose crosswords are capable of having both copyright and moral
rights (being a "literary work", but I wouldn't be surprised if
someone were prepared to contest it).  However, if Auracaria wrote a
computer program to generate the crossword (seems unlikely in
Auracaria's case, but perhaps not in other cases) then he may have
lost his moral rights (!):

>From http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/48/section/79

79 Exceptions to right.

(1)The right conferred by section 77 (right to be identified as author
or director) is subject to the following exceptions.

(2)The right does not apply in relation to the following descriptions of work—

(a)a computer program;

(b)the design of a typeface;

(c)any computer-generated work.

"(c) any computer-generated work".  What if the work is part generated
by computer (eg, a computer search of possible grids, anagrams,
related words, etc) and part the work of a human? Who knows.

Looks like from your e-mail exchange with Auracaria that he's of the
opinion that Tom employed him to make the crossword, so the copyright
is Tom's.  Once Tom has the copyright, he can license it in any way he
likes, including multiple times to multiple parties.

David Jones

On 27 September 2011 13:10, Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 at cam.ac.uk> wrote:
> This is a bit of fun, but I'd be interested in the formal (UK if it matters)
> position.
> Tom Murray-Rust commissioned a birthday crossword for me from Araucaria
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Galbraith_Graham ), the best known and
> best-loved crossword setter in the UK/world. Tom suggested a number of
> answers that represented me, including "Panton Principles" and "Open Data".
> Araucaria created the grid and the clues and forwarded them to Tom. (I'll
> blog it later).
> In thanking Araucaria profusely I asked about the copyright position and if
> I could distribute this further. He agreed but said anyway that Tom had
> bought it so it was his to dispose of as he felt.
> However I'd like the formal Open Knowledge and (CC) licence positions.
> Presumably Araucaria continues to hold the moral right (no-one can remove
> his right to be known as the creator). Can Tom acquire the copyright thorugh
> it being a "work-for-hire". And can Tom licence it under any CC licence?
> (This is an example where I think CC-ND has some value - it's not
> OKD-compliant but it allows redistribution.
> There is presumably a vast experience in copyright on personal letters,
> contracted paintings, songs, etc. I note that the Guardian adds no special
> copyright to the newspaper version but for the online it adds:
> © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All
> rights reserved.
> P.
> --
> Peter Murray-Rust
> Reader in Molecular Informatics
> Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
> University of Cambridge
> CB2 1EW, UK
> +44-1223-763069
> _______________________________________________
> okfn-discuss mailing list
> okfn-discuss at lists.okfn.org
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