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Next Steps for Copyright Policy

BPS CopyrightUK and European Reform - 19th June 2014.

The current EU review of Copyright law could be a force for good by fine tuning and improving a well proven and successful IP law system, as witnessed in the United Kingdom by a burgeoning creative industries ranging from film, TV, music to design and innovation. Alternatively, the review could lead to eventual legislative changes that undermine a successful system with the consequence that investors no longer see the creative industries as a safe vehicle into which to invest as no guarantee of maximising IP rights; whilst writers, directors and musicians amongst many struggle to earn a living from their efforts and talents.

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Rihanna succeeds against Top Shop for “Unfaithful” use of image on a T-shirt

RihannaOne of the summer’s Intellectual property highlights was when Mr Justice Birss QC of the Patents County Court found in favour of mega successful singer Rihanna against clothing retailer, Top Shop, for using an image of her on a T-shirt giving the impression that it was officIal merchandise and approved by her.

The background is that Rihanna had previously endorsed Top Shop. However, separate from such arrangement Top Shop had purchased photographs from a photographer taken of Rihanna during the video shooting of her song We Found Love.

One of the images appeared on a line of T-shirts produced by Top Shop and sold in 2011 and early 2012. However, Top Shop had not sought the permission of Rihanna nor her management for the use of her image in the context of that t-shirt.

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OrphanWorks EUThe United Kingdom will have to complementary pieces of legislation addressing how copyright law handles orphan works. An orphan work is where the author or creator of the copyright cannot be identified, found, or it remains uncertain whether the material remains within copyright which in the United Kingdom copyright expires usually 70 years after the death of the copyright owner.

The European Union Orphan Works Directive (2012/ 28/EU) which becomes effective in the United Kingdom on 29th October 2014 will apply to institutions like public libraries, education establishments, museums and archives. Should such institutions wish to use an orphan work then they must carry out a diligent search from an appropriate source. The directive gives some guidance as to what is an appropriate source. The Directive allows EU Member States to add to the list as to what they deem to be appropriate sources.

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Update IP BillThe Intellectual Property Bill has had its third reading in the House of Lords on the 30th July 2013, and has now transferred to the House of Commons where it is currently awaiting a date to be allocated for its First Reading.

Amongst its provisions includes clause 13 which if the Bill receives Royal Assent will see the amendment to clause 35 of the Registered Designs Act 1949 whereby an criminal offence will occur if a person whilst in the course of business copies a registered design so as to make a product exactly or substantially the same to the registered design. In order for an offence to have been committed it will be necessary to prove that the alleged offender knew or had reason to believe that the design was a registered design, and that the copying was without the consent of the registered proprietor of the design.

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VillagePeopleLast year, Blue Pencil reported that former Village People member Victor Willis (he is the one who dressed like a policeman) was taking his record company to court in order to claim back his copyrights.

Recent reports suggest that he has been successful and that his exercise of this termination rights means that the copyrights of his smash hit songs such as In the Navy and YMCA will revert to him, together with his entitlement to royalties. Mr Willis when interviewed on BBC’s Radio 4 Broadcasting House programme said that he reckoned he was entitled to $30million dollars.

In our previous article we reported that the record company asserted that Mr Willis was an employee of them and as such any intellectual property rights vested with the record company.

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46 MarkMark Adams: The Man Behind Opel's Award Winning Ampera.

Recently, General Motors European Division, Opel, won the coveted European Car of the Year for its ground breaking Opel Ampera (marketed in the United Kingdom as Vauxhall). BluePencil caught up with Mark Adams GM Europe Vice President of Design to discuss the philosophy behind the Ampera and the effect of modern day regulation on the look and efficiency of the cars the public drive.

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wipo3The recent Assembly at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) demonstrated a significant move by a number of emerging countries to enhance their infrastructure to promote and secure intellectual property rights.

In order to ensure economic stability and to reflect the increasing output of intellectual property output, nation states recognised the need to recognise and enforce better protection of IP in their respective countries.

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54 Model

Muses author of The Model's Handbook, Julian Okines
When asked about models having their own union in a recent Times article, Eileen Ford - founder of the reputable Ford Modelling Agency in New York - responded by saying 'I've heard that crud so many times... Models don't need that protection anyway.'

Equity disagrees and that in the UK at least, fashion models can now join a legitimately recognised Trade Union. It's an important step as although employment rules have improved there are still anomalies. However, many working models still veer away from membership and the fashion industry appears to consider being a union member deeply unfashionable...

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The World Intellectual Property Organisation's (WIPO) Assembly is organising a global diplomatic conference to discuss ways to promote and protect the interests of televisual performers. The Diplomatic Conference will take place in Beijing in June 2012.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said 'While some countries have domestic legislation that grants certain rights to performers in audiovisual works there is a legal vacuum at the international level.

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60 ST

Philip Townsend's striking photography encapsulates the 1960s ranging from celebrity (before the term was dumbed down by wannabees) to everyday life including the tragic aftermath of the 1966 Aberfan mining disaster.

Philip's life has been as illustrious as the era he photographed having made numerous transformations to make Madonna look like a one-trick pony. Apart from being a landmark photographer of the 1960s, Philip has been a journalist courting at times controversy. However, it is to his photographic archive to which he has returned over the last few years, and most notably Philip was the first photographer of the Rolling Stones with the first shoot occurring a few days after Andrew Loog Oldham had become their manager.

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