Re: Resumes with a sense of humour

Subject: Re: Resumes with a sense of humour
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2004 07:07:02 -0500

Mike O. wrote:

So now it's plagiarism to tell an old joke? I better go tell my Uncle Jim


It depends how old. It depends on whether the audience paid admission.
It depends if you put it in writing and claim it as your original work.
In other words, the same rules apply to jokes as to any other creations.
Joke writers (or the comedians who are the legal owners of their output)
are entitled to copyright protection.

How many times have you received some daily joke email that contained
obvious ripoffs of Steven Wright, Dave Barry, Letterman's Top Ten list,
etc. (Letterman has actually done a pretty good job of policing the
abuse of the last, by the way. Those lists tend to be credited nowadays.)

The point is that even if the material is funny, the plagiarism isn't.
By all means tell an old joke (old as in public domain old). Just don't
take a new joke that you [generic _you_ not specific to Mike] copied
from a Web site that stole it from a working writer and use it as the
putatively original body of your cover letter.


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