Ice Road Copyrights

Earlier this week the CBC did an interview with a trucker who was featured in a reality show call "Ice Road Truckers". The show was about truckers who drive nearly 500 KM over ice roads through lakes and tundra in the NWT.

It sounded interesting so I employed a little bit of modern Internet technology and acquired an episode or two to see what it was all about. Apparently the show was a big hit in the States which is the only place it has been broadcast so far.

It was a well done piece of hyperbole taking a rather mundane and uneventful job and pumping it up to look glamorous and dangerous. It did this so well in fact that the ice road transportation company that worked with the TV network to produce the series last year wants nothing to do with making another series because the producers so misrepresented the industry. The hyperbole was also good enough to convince 20th Century Fox to make a fully scripted movie based on it.

What I find most interesting about that however, is the fact that they felt compelled to negotiate rights with the History Channel to be able to do this. Presumably theirs will be a full story with plots, and sub plots, scripts, actors, and a whole lot more artistic creativity then cutting and splicing actual event tapes and adding a narrative.

I wonder if this now means that the History Channel holds copyright over all stories that involve ice roads and trucks. This really looks to me like the History Channel is trying to claim ownership of an idea. I suppose the most amazing aspect of this is that they are doing so with copyright which was specifically designed not to be applicable to ideas. I mean come on, to claim ownership of a loose story plot line like this with copyright? Isn't that what patents are for?