Perhaps we’ve been all wrong in our thinking about copyright. The US joined the Berne Convention in 1989, and stopped requiring the registry of new works for the granting of copyright (although there are still some legal advantages to registering). Instead, maybe we should have been keeping an eye on the UK clown community.
Apparently, clowns are not supposed to steal one another’s look, and doing so is considered a major faux pas. To help police this, the group Clowns International requires members to paint their clown faces onto eggs, which are then entered into the Clown Egg Register.
While simultaneously whimsical and horrifying, this provides an answer to where author Terry Pratchett came up with one of the more absurd aspects of his Discworld books.
h/t (and maybe curses) to Lisa Hinchliffe for bringing this to my attention.