1 Europlants to get benefit of UPOV

The WIPO has just informed the IPKat today that the European Community has acceded to the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, current to the Geneva revision of 19 March 1991. The UPOV Convention kicks in there with effect from 29 July 2005.

The IPKat notes with disappointment that catnip is not yet among the plant varieties to which the UPOV treaty applies.

2 Single licence for the single market

The Guardian has reported that creators of online music services such as composers, lyricists and performers will receive a single pan-European copyright licence fee, if proposals by the European Commission come to fruition. These proposals, which won't be officially launched until the autumn, are designed to boost the growth of legitimate online content services in the EU and to close the gap with America in webcasting and streaming. An EC study has found that the US market was worth €500m (£340m) a year against just over €100m in the EU. The cost of a licence, granted via collective rights managers to commercial users, is about €19,000 for mechanical and performance rights in the EU's 25 countries - €475,000 in total. Given that the profit on each download is €0.10, it would require 4.75m of these to recover the cost of the licences.

The IPKat watches with interest. While getting collecting societies from different countries to compete against each other may still be a dream for some of the Commissioners, streamlining the procedure for granting licences and collecting royalties is a dream that rights-owners reckon can more easily come true.

3 I don't know much about art, but I know what I like ... to smash

Ananova brings this thought-provoking tidbit about Yuri Samodurov and Lyudmila Vasilovskaya, two Russian art museum directors who are to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights after they were prosecuted when vandals smashed up one of their exhibits. Protesters broke in and smashed part of the Beware! Religion exhibition at Russia's Sakharov Museum two years ago. To the two directors' annoyance the protestors were let off after a court ruled they had been "justifiably provoked" by the controversial exhibition. Samodurov and Vasilovskaya were convicted of incitement to religious and ethnic hatred and fined £2,000 each for displaying a Coca-Cola logo with Christ's face and the words "This is my blood" on it, and a sculpture of a church made from vodka bottles.

The IPKat notes how, yet again, the Coca-Cola logo has taken on an iconic cultural status. Other Jesus-Coke tie-ins are reproduced here. Merpel wonders whether any other religions employ Coca-Cola imagery too, or whether it's a Christian monopoly.

4 UNICE urges support for innovation -- but whose?

This press release was issued by UNICE last week. UNICE, the European Union's lobby group for pro-industry interests. Said UNICE Secretary General Philippe de Buck:
"We are living in a digital world. Europe's capacity to innovate in new technologies will be key in boosting the European economy and providing additional jobs and growth. This is particularly important for SMEs. Supporting innovation in the high-tech sector must be a priority for the EU".
The IPKat's quiz question is this: if you read this statement, can you be sure whether UNICE wants to (i) extend software patent protection, (ii) diminish it, (iii) leave it as it is or (iv) just make sure it's around to talk about it when the next round of discussions eventually occurs?


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