Where do you draw the line when ads are obviously derivative?

Persephone Bridgman Baker, senior associate at law firm Carter-Ruck, explains in PR Week: “It is a classic tension in copyright law that only an original expression of an idea can be protected by copyright, not the idea itself. For there to be any protection of an idea, first the idea must be created so that it exists in a tangible way.

“Artists often look to other artists for inspiration, and that is evident in the similarities in the underlying ideas of different campaigns.

“However, it is not – for example – blind tasting of repackaged high-street products that is protected, but the copy and footage created for the advert, and any branding output associated with the product. If those are copied, imitation may no longer be the sincerest form of flattery, but copyright infringement.”

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