1 Liberia signs up for Phonograms Treaty

The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization presents his compliments to the IPKat and has the honour to notify him that, according to the information received from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Government of the Republic of Liberia deposited, on 16 September 2005, its instrument of accession to the Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms of 29 October 1971. The Convention enters into force with respect to Liberia, on 16 December 2005.

There are now 75 members of the Phonograms Convention: they are listed here.

2 Albania joins UPOV Convention

The Secretary-General of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) - who also happens to be the WIPO Director-General in his spare time - presents his compliments to the IPKat and has the honour to notify the deposit by the Government of the Republic of Albania, on 15 September 2005, of its instrument of accession to the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants of 2 December 1961 (as revised to 1991).

The Convention will enter into force, with respect to Albania on 15 October 2005 when the Republic becomes a member of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants.

Sixty UPOV members here
More on Albanian plant research here

3 Four Times table ...

IPKat pen-friend Sofia Smith has just informed him that this week's Times Law carried no fewer than four news items on intellectual property. These features addressed

* Google's book scanning program;

* the splendidly anomalous topic of UK Crown copyright;

* destroying site-specific art works (this topic was touched on in a recent blog) and

* celebrity endorsement for brands (a regular IPKat topic).

The IPKat is delighted. All too often, newspaper coverage of law at the national level tends to cover the same few areas (criminal law, legal aid, divorce and custody, constitutional issues and regulation of the legal professions) but leave IP law untouched. There will be much better understanding of IP issues among the non-legal community if newspapers regularly report on such items.

Merpel demurs: hold on a minute, she mews - you don't generally believe half of what you read in the daily papers, so why should you assume the public at large will teach itself all about intellectual property because a few journalists decide to give it an airing?


  1. The article on Crown Copyright is excellent. It points out with approval that under US law all government publications are free of copyright. It is something I consider the UK should have enacted years ago. The combination of articles in this supplement made good Tuesday morning reading.

  2. The article on Google Print was a disaster. It singularly failed to recognise that except for books "published" as part of the "Publisher" program, only snippets (literally 3 separate sentences) will be available. The really interesting question is whether intermediary copying (i.e scanning and loading on to Google's database) in furtherance of fair use copying (the aforementioned snippets) is also fair use. This is an increasingly important question. We have some guidance from Kelly -v- Arriba Soft (in the US at least) and a host of economic pointers, but not much else. This is what The Times should have talked about.

  3. Re Guy's comment: It seems to me that making all government publications copyright-free is as objectionable as subjecting all government publications to Crown copyright, since the sheer scale and economic impact of the government sector in modern states is so great. I don't think the Berne Convention lies happily with either of these positions. Why not treat them exactly the same as any other authored or created work, so far as copyright is concerned, but adopt a broad and sensible set of defences to infringement and royalty-free statutory licences in favour of the large range of uses which are either trivial or do not compete directly with government activities?

    Re Paul G: the intermediary copying issue, in another guise, cropped up in the old House of Lords decision in British Leyland v Armstrong, which it might now be fun to revisit.

  4. Aaaargh! The general public understanding IP? What will lawyers do then?

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