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Bullfighting Not Protected By Copyright

Actualizado: 6 oct 2021

The Spanish Supreme Court has decided in a recent ruling that the performance of a bullfighter cannot be subject to copyright. This sentence arises as a result of a lawsuit initiated by the bullfighter Miguel Ángel Perera Díaz against the intellectual property registry of Badajoz, which had denied him the registration of one of his performances. The bullfighter presented before this record a video of a bullfight together with a written description of it with the intention of being recognized as its author. The action was motivated by the bullfighter's wish to gain leverage regarding the broadcasting rights over his performances.

In the first instance, the court agreed with the registry. It considered that bullfighting, like any sport, follows a series of pre-established rules and protocols and does not have enough creative freedom to create an original work. The Supreme Court confirmed the decision but under different grounds. Applying the EU Cofemel doctrine (that determines that anything that can is an "original work" can be protected by copyright) the court decided that, since in a bullfight performance the "work" cannot identified clearly, there cannot be any copyright.


An extended commentary of this decision by our partner Victoria Sofía Martín has been published by the Oxford Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice, you can access it here.


Esquivel & Martin Santos, Propiedad Intelectual e Industrial

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