Guarding a Cultural Icon: Concurrent Intellectual Property Regimes and the Perpetual Protection of Anne of Green Gables in Canada
44 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2011 Last revised: 16 Sep 2012
Date Written: November 11, 2010
This article uses the various intellectual property protections afforded to the classic children's novel Anne of Green Gables as a means of illustrating the blurring between copyright, trademark, and official marks regimes in Canada. By not keeping these regimes distinct, the author argues, Canadian intellectual property law seriously threatens the integrity of the public domain, a central means by which an appropriate balance is struck between the interests of authors, other cultural producers, and the public at large. The blurring between regimes is located in three conceptual sites: origin in copyright versus source in trademark; reputation in copyright versus goodwill in trademark; and the weak requirement that a public authority serve a "public benefit" in order to qualify for official marks protection, without any consideration of the public interest served by the limitations on protections built into the other intellectual property regimes. Reinforcing the distinctions between regimes and clarifying the public benefit requirement for official marks would help protect the public domain from unjustified encroachments that potentially deprive us of access to creative works of shared cultural significance.
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