Next Steps for Copyright Policy
UK 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.
Rihanna succeeds against Top Shop for “Unfaithful” use of image on a T-shirt
One 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.
The 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.
The 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.
Last 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.
We often refer to National Treasures, and to a degree this accolade is misplaced or overused, but not in the case of Sir David Frost who sadly died on the 31st August 2013, aged 74 years.
I suspect a significant part of the British population have some association with the work of Sir David whether it was him in 1963 anchoring a tribute on the satirical show The Week that Was the night after President Kennedy was assassinated, the trial by TV confrontation on the Frost programme of fraudster Emil Savundra, the seminal interviews with disgraced US President Richard Nixon, the lighthearted but insightful light entertainment programme Through the Keyhole, being part of the Famous Five at TV AM who brought Roland Rat to our screens, his sofa style interviews on BBC’s Frost on Sunday where behind every “top of the morning” was a insightful question disguised in avuncular camouflage, through to his later time at Al Jazeera English where his work rate ranged from Blair to Bhutta to Gadaffi and Lewis Hamilton.
Intellectual Property (IP) Innovation Fund galvanises IP law firms, Innovation Intermediaries and University IP Centres. A collaboration instigated by Creative Barcode, Blue Pencil and Innovation Bank brings together some of the UK’s leading organisations directly responsible for industry Intellectual Property needs, particularly those seeking to assist creative industries, innovators and start-ups.
The collaboration is launched under a collective belief that if the entry level into intellectual property becomes less complex, faster and easier, students, individuals, creative, new technology, micro-sized and start-up firms will be better positioned to benefit from their IP created at the outset, through to and beyond commercialisation.
Its core focus is on developing less complex mechanisms and processes for individuals; lone inventors, innovators, creative industries, digital and all sector micro-sized companies and start-ups who struggle, particularly at early IP stage, to safe-guard their Intellectual Property in-development.
Innovation concepts are at the core of the creative industries skill base but rarely are they seeking to commercialise alone. Instead many 1000’s seek collaboration and commercialisation partners or to sell or license concepts to other businesses. And entrepreneurs with new business propositions seek the input of others to shape their propositions pre-launch.
However, they also experience a high level of vulnerability when non-disclosure agreements can be hard to come by, or are weighted towards the interests of issuing party or are too just general to be meaningful. Creative Barcode has successful developed a more visible system that is fast, easy and non-complex. However, it feels that more can be done with the collective support of the legal profession, Universities and innovation intermediaries.
The IP Innovation Fund is open to all organisations that share in the collective belief. An inaugural meeting of minds is scheduled to take place on 22nd April hosted by the British Library Open Innovation project.
Endorsed by World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Creative Barcode® is a not for profit organisation with members in more than 24 Countries who use its digital system to attribute their work, protect and safely disclose concepts to third parties or communicate rights reserved in completed works displayed on and offline.
Trust, Ethics, Etiquette, Authenticity, Integrity and Fair Trading are the Creative Barcode® and its members guiding principles.
The Creative Barcode® product is easy to use, non-complex, low cost, and involves no in-depth paperwork. It is ideally suited to creative industries; inventors, entrepreneurs, start-ups, micro-sized and SME firms, Universities and their students and graduates.
Since launch in September 2010 not a single breach has occurred despite attracting users from more than 24 Countries across five continents.
Blue Pencil Media
Blue Pencil is arguably the first magazine and website dedicated to the explanation and analysis of legal and commercial issues specific to the creative industries. Established in 2011, Blue Pencil Magazine is edited by Julian Wilkins whose career spans media, IP law and script writing
Innovation Bank is a safe-trading portal for all type and size of innovation-led firm. It encourages collaborative partnerships and the licensing, buying and selling of innovation concepts and IP. Account holders can also send innovation requests to each other singularly or to specific groups. All trading takes place within a secure, non-public area, where account holders are signed to the Creative Barcode® Trust Charter. A front-end Innovation directory and news room is open to public view and is used by account holders as a PR and marketing facility.
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.
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...
Mark 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.