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Bummer: Supernatural Beings Can’t Copyright Anything

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Bummer: Supernatural Beings Can’t Copyright Anything

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Published on September 9, 2014

But what about my screenplay about a misunderstood count who just loves to party?
But what about my screenplay about a misunderstood count who just loves to party?

Remember when a monkey took the cheekiest selfie ever in 2011? Well, the United States copyright office has finally clarified that said monkey cannot take credit for the photo (because clearly monkey selfies would herald the real dawn of the planet of the apes) in a new revision of copyright law. In doing so, they’ve also ruled out ghosts, vampires, gods, and basically any supernatural creature as writers, artists, or owners of any original work.

According to the updated rules, one must be able to prove exclusively human authorship of an original work. Which means even if Dracula is prepping his definitive human/vampire love story, he’s out of luck. Frankenstein’s monster wants to paint his daddy issues into a mural? No-can-dosville, babydoll. Chimeras better not take up crochet, because their art installations won’t get credited.

Hat tip to Orbit publicist Ellen Wright, who tweeted this amusing snippet:

supernatural creatures can't copyright things photo wtf funny

What about androids? They’re not from nature, but neither are they supernatural. Seeing as they’re not human, though, we’re assuming the same strictures apply, which is going to be super-awkward once we all have robot best friends who won’t get credit for their creativity.

The one interesting loophole is that a work that was divinely inspired counts. Though how one determines that, we dunno.

Photos: Universal Pictures / United States Copyright Office

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