09 May 2006

Copyrighting Corpses

Posted by David Bollier 16 August 2005

When I was researching my book of stories about copyright and trademark absurdities, I kept turning up stories that I thought could never be topped: the tattoo artist who secured a registered service mark on a full-body tattoo of angel wings (the ® is between the feathers on the person's right buttock)”.the biologists who created electronic music based on sequences of DNA molecules from slime molds and sea urchins (Who are the “authors” of these “original” tunes, the scientists or the slime molds?)”.the yoga entrepreneur Bikram Choudhury, who claimed a copyright in the “original” sequence of yoga positions used by his national franchise of yoga studios. (The case was settled in May 2005.) How could these stories be topped?

I am astonished to report that the assertion of intellectual property rights has reached a pathological new extreme. There is now a lawsuit claiming ownership in the poses of dead bodies.

Copyrighting Corpses

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