Yesterday I wrote about “tone of voice”. Today I’ve learnt that whereas I thought “tone of voice” was the marketeer’s equivalent of what lawyers call “look and feel” it actually addresses the way in which a company ‘speaks’ to its clients. This, for the avoidance of doubt is “speaking” not in the sense of an overpaid voice over actor, but in the sense of the “corporate voice” and style of writing.
Now, I was surprised to discover that businesses hire people to come up with this for them (is this my dream job? Paid wordmonging without recourse to legal text?!) it also leads to questions around ownership of the work.
We can all sit here and be reasonably comfortable that the look and feel of a document or website is protected by copyright. But in order for copyright to apply to a company’s “tone of voice” the tone itself must be a “Work”.
It is well established that copyright will only apply to the expression of an idea – and as tone of voice seems to relate to the way in which an expression of an idea is uh expressed, can it be a Work in itself?
Are we looking to establish our rights in the expression of the expression of our ideas?
That doesn’t sound like it’s an assertion we can make, but if we can pay someone to create this mythical tone of voice, surely we can find a way to ensure ownership of it is transferred to us upon completion.
How? Well, watch this space…