x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Catchphrases are now the domain of copyright?

Got something to say? You might want to copyright it before everyone catches on.

Indian screen legend Amitabh Bachchan.
Indian screen legend Amitabh Bachchan.

Quick, copyright that catchphrase

Paris Hilton infamously made an unsuccessful attempt to copyright her inane catchphrase, "that's hot" back in 2005. Now a star of a rather different order, the Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan, has told fans of his plan to try to copyright his famously gruff voice, after taking offence at it being imitated in a series of Indian adverts for a popular brand of chewing tobacco called gutka.

Bachchan wrote on his blog: "For someone that does not smoke or propagate smoking or any kind of intoxicant, by keeping away from endorsing such products, it is most disgusting to find someone conflagrating the law of the land and the law of ethics, if ever they possessed one."

He called the adverts "unethical and wrong", and said: "It does become important, therefore, that I take relevant steps to stop this illegal practice and introduce elements bound by contract to see that such practices are not repeated in the future."

Bachchan's copyright attempt comes hot on the heels of the news that the message that announced to the world that the 33 trapped Chilean miners were safe below ground had been copyrighted in the name of the miner who composed it.

The Chilean author Pablo Huneeus successfully applied to have the phrase, "estamos bien en el refugio los 33", or "we are OK in the refuge, the 33 of us" registered in the name of Jose Ojeda.

His words became known around the world, with the Chilean president going so far as to hand out copies to dignitaries on his subsequent tour of Europe.