Background: After Sony was hacked and a bunch of corporate email messages (among other things) were dumped to the internet, some guy in the UK decided to repost some of the more interesting messages on twitter. Sony’s UK branch demanded twitter take down the posts, claiming copyright violations. Twitter took down a few posts that contained* snippets from screenplays/scripts. They refused to take down the rest.
Question: Are a company’s internal communications actually subject to copyright protection? Or is this just a long shot by Sony?
Initial thoughts: I know** a creative work is protected by copyright from it’s completion (whether or not it’s registered with the copyright office). But are business emails really a “creative work”? Does the law (in the UK or US) actually limit copyright to creative/artistic works, or something similar?
A creative work is anything you put into tangible form that contains original expression. That includes emails. And every post made here.
Reprinting them without permission is a violation of copyright, so Sony can ask sites to take down copyrighted communications. Those sites could make the claim that printing them is fair use. What’s fair use? Anything a court says it is. As this won’t go to court, nobody can say.
Everybody’s in the right here, except where everybody is in the wrong.
I should add that UK law is not the same as U.S. law. The above pertains to U.S. law only.