Who owns the copyright when you’ve received the message from beyond the grave and you’ve written it down?

Who is the copyright author when a message has been sent to you from beyond the grave?
Interesting, stick around and I’ll tell you.

Hi everyone, Simon here from The Contract Company we also run another website called askacontractlawyer.com.au. If you’ve got any questions, go to askacontractlawyer.com, send them in we’ll make you a video response just like this one. So who owns the copyright when you’ve received the message from beyond the grave and you’ve written it down?

Case in Point: Cummins vs Bond

Anyway 1927 there’s an English case of Cummins and Bond. Now Miss Cummins was a journalist who in a spare time conducted séances.  During that séances apparently she would cover her eyes with a left-hand, right with her right hand.  She had an assistant who would swap out the paper that she was writing on once she’d filled a page. So anyway during the course of these séances they were accompanied by a man called Mr. Bond.

Mr. Bond was an architect. He happened to come along to the séances because they were interested in some sort of abbey. I don’t know how that came about.

But anyway during the séances apparently Miss Cummins came in contact with an entity called Cleophus or Cleophas who was two thousand years old.  Given that Cleophas spoke Hebrew, but they had an intermediary as a messenger.

It was the messenger who was getting in contact with Miss Cummins. Miss Cummins then wrote down the message from the messenger in old 16th century English. This is weird, isn’t it?

So anyway what then happened is Mr. Bond who apparently studied or had studied Old English offered to take those transcribed texts or text and put it into or punctuate everything properly put them into proper paragraphs and use proper English.

So then what happened is Mr. Bond did that, took the work, fixed it all up. He put it in proper sentences, made it read well.  Then he actually sent that information or some of those messages to magazines in the United States to try and get them published because it was quite a spiritualist movement in the States at the time.

Then what he tried to do is get Miss Cummins to actually assign the copyright or at least give him a part share in the copyright. Miss Cummins didn’t want to do that because she believed that the messages beyond the grave were hers and hers alone.

And so that’s where we go to court.  She basically wanted an acknowledgment from the court that she owned the copyright. Further, that there was no copyright agreement or transfer of a lot title in the copyright to Mr. Bond. Weird stuff.

Anyway, the judge basically found that he wasn’t prepared to say that the information that was from beyond the grave was original.  [This is] because that would mean that he would have to say that the person or that the message itself from the person beyond the grave was valid.

Not willing to do that, come on Judge, you could have had a crack at that mate. Anyway, it doesn’t matter.

The Verdict: Medium is the Copyright Author

What ended up happening was that the judge did actually agree that Miss Cummins owned the copyright, she was the original author.

Even though the defense had said that it’s not an original work, she’s just transcribing someone that was something that was given to her.

As I said the judge didn’t accept that and Mr. Bond went down in a flame of flaming heap.

So, if you are a psychic medium and you get information from beyond the grave and you write it down then there’s a good chance that you’re the copyright owner.

(Related reading on copyright here).

There you go, who’d have thought. Anyway if you have any questions please feel free to get in touch simon@contractcompany.com.au or 1-800-355-455 thanks very much.

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