Can you copyright movie times?, a site owned by West World Media believes that they have!

In his article, Michael Masnick relates the experience of a reader Jay Anderson who found a loophole on a web page and figured out how to get movie times for a given zip code. He (Jay Anderson) then contacted the company asking how he could become an affiliate and drive traffic their way and was rewarded with some legal mumbo jumbo.

First of all, I think the minion at the law firm was taking a course on “Nasty Letter Writing 101” and did a fine job. I’m no copyright expert but if I received an offer from someone to drive more traffic to my site my first answer would not be to get a lawyer involved.

Second, this whole episode could have well been featured in the book, Letters from a Nut, by Ted L. Nancy or the sequel More Letters from a Nut.

But, this reminds me of something a former co-worker told me about an incident where his daughter wrote a nice letter to a company and got her first taste of legal over zealousness. He can correct the facts and fill in the details but if I recall correctly, the daughter in question had written letters to many companies asking the usual childrens questions about how pretzels, or candy or a nice toy was made. In response some nice person in a marketing department sent a gift hamper back with a polite explanation of the process etc., But one day the little child wanted to know (if my memory serves me correctly) why M&M’s were called M&M’s. So, along went the nice letter to the address on the box. The response was a letter from the say guy who now works for explaining that M&M’s was a copyright of the so-and-so-company and any attempt to blah blah blah.

I think it is only a matter of time before releases exactly the same app that Jay Anderson wanted to, closes the loophole that he found and fires the developer who left it there in the first place.

Oh, wait, I just got a legal notice from Amazon saying that the link on this blog directing traffic to their site is a violation of something or the other …

2 thoughts on “Can you copyright movie times?”

  1. I’m a big fan of those Ted Nancy books and this raises an interesting idea, if it hasn’t been done. Someone should collect real life situations like this that aren’t staged. It would still be funny but possibly even more unbelievable.


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