Punch & Judy

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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MrPunch
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Punch & Judy

Post by MrPunch » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:59 pm

Hello all!
New to this board and stumbled across it while trying to answer my question!

It’s regarding the British seaside classic Punch and Judy. As far as I can tell, the character Mr Punch can be traced back to first appearing in1662. I’m no expert but that suggests to me it’s fallen well out of copyright!!

I’m currently writing a novel and would like to use the Mr Punch character in it for satirical purposes. So, the character name, description and catchphrases eg “that’s the way to do it”

Do you foresee any problems doing this?

If there are, would it be allowable to call him something else, slightly different features and different catchphrases? So recognisably a parody of the character. But not the character?

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AndyJ
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Re: Punch & Judy

Post by AndyJ » Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:46 pm

Hi MrPunch,

I don't think there can be any copyright or other intellectual property problems with using the Mr Punch character in the way you suggest. Even if some of the catchphrases are relatively modern (ie from the twentieth century) their use is so widespread that it would nearly impossible to prove any one author originated the words.

And since you propose to use the character and phrases for satirical purposes, you are doubly protected as there is an exception to copyright law for that purpose.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

MrPunch
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Re: Punch & Judy

Post by MrPunch » Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:53 am

Thanks!

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