Copyright and Other Fairy Tales

Copyright and Other Fairy Tales

Hans Christian Andersen and the Commodification of Creativity

Edited by Helle Porsdam

The present state of copyright law and the way in which it threatens the remix of culture and creativity is a shared concern of the contributors to this unique book. Whether or not to remain within the underlying regime of intellectual property law, and what sort of reforms are needed if we do decide to remain within this regime, are fundamental questions that form the subtext for their discussions.

Chapter 4: Adaptations with Integrity

Leslie Kim Treiger-Bar-Am

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law


Leslie Kim Treiger-Bar-Am INTRODUCTION Adaptations abound. Versions of Hans Christian Andersen’s tales are countless. In bookshops and libraries it is often easier to find ‘The Little Mermaid’ as retold by others, than to find Andersen’s own tale. The variety of video versions, puzzles and toys based on that tale are astounding. The Disney version of Andersen’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ is titled ‘Disney’s Masterpiece’, and is already called a Disney ‘classic’. Disney has since produced a followup, Return to the Sea. This chapter discusses authors’ rights to control modifications, including adaptations, of literary, visual and musical artworks. The author’s moral right of integrity will be examined. Upon the Anglo-American divide between copyright and moral rights, it is the latter that will be in focus. The economic interest in copyright can be used to prevent modifications to artworks, and gives copyright owners control over derivative uses of the primary work. Yet this analysis examines authors’ moral right of integrity. The analysis will centre on UK law, and its enactment of section 80 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (hereinafter ‘Act’). Section 80 provides that an author has the right to prevent treatment that ‘amounts to distortion or mutilation of the work or is otherwise prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the author or director’.1 Section 80 implemented into UK law Article 6bis of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Reference to US and Continental jurisdictions will be made as well, for a general comparative...

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