The Continuing Adventures of Captain Copyright

The Captain Copyright debacle continues with Access Copyright seemingly editing the site on the fly as the criticism mounts.  I already noted the changes to the linking policy, while Matthew Skala calls attention to the removal of materials that used content from Wikipedia. As part of the continuing adventures of Captain Copyright, it is worth noting that the linking policy has changed yet again.  Access Copyright presumably had second thoughts about the moral rights claim and has now dropped that from the agreement.  While the continual changes are making the copyright collective look more than a little foolish,  all these changes are minor compared to the latest revelation – Wallace notes that Captain Copyright isn't even original.  

Last year, the Singapore Intellectual Property Office conducted an IP awareness road show.  The star of the show?  Captain Copyright, featured in four cartoon shorts warning against copying music, making multiple photocopies, and warning ominously of a world without copyright.  If the last cartoon sounds familiar, it might be because that is the same approach used in Access Copyright's Captain Copyright's grade one lesson.

The Singapore Captain Copyright says that all its rights are reserved.  Access Copyright says that it has obtained a license to use all the materials on the site.  Does that include a license from the Singapore creator?  It would be too easy to note that this sounds like a case for Captain Copyright.

Update:  Thanks to a librarian for bringing to my attention that several school boards in Canada are promoting Captain Copyright.  These include the Vancouver School Board (District #39), Richmond School Board (District #38), and the Halton District School Board in Ontario.

UpdateII: The Vancouver School Board has dropped its link to Captain Copyright.


  1. Darryl Moore says:

    In all fairness to Access Copyright it should be noted that a cartoon superhero(TM) by the name of Captain (enter_name_here) would be very easy for anyone to come up with independently. In fact it has been done many times already. All presumably using Marvel Comic’s Captain America as the template.

    I don’t think they necessarily did anything wrong with this character. They may not have even been aware of the Singapore version of the character. But it is ironic that this choice in characters makes the case against them better that it does for them.

    While Access Copyright has for a long time been calling for stronger copyright laws, this case makes a good argument for loosening them, at least where the concept of derived works is concerned.

    The easy of creating now means that there is more and more stuff on the Internet every day, and so much of it is interrelated in its derivations. This is because of the sheer volume of stuff as well as common cultures, efficient communications, and of course, the ease of copying in the Internet. This sort of apparent copying is only going to become more common and is only going to produce more work for lawyers.

    We need to fundamentally rethink the concept of copyright and rather than putting more restrictions on how work is used, find ways to impose only the bare minimum of restrictions that is absolutely necessary.

    So wadda’ya think Access Copyright. Do you think your Captain Copyright can help out? Meh, if not we can just get us another one right?

  2. Austin Corbett says:

    Captain Copyright Says’
    “Copyright questions? Captain Copyright to the rescue! That’s right, now Copyright infringement has it’s very own super hero! He can help kids and teachers with all their copyright problems! Plus, he gives out free stuff!”

    -from the Halton Website.