1 What Katy did ...

"What Katy did" is a short piece in today's Sunday Telegraph on the risks inherent in one of the more overt elements of intellectual property law: celebrity endorsement licensing. The article briefly chronicles the misdeeds of various celebrities (including Tiger Woods, David Ginola and Lawrence Dallaglio) and discusses the element of risk inherent in pinning the reputation of a popular consumer product to the sometimes random or irrational behaviour of high-profile celebrities. The piece then goes on to consider whether supermodel (but not super role-model) Kate Moss (right) has destroyed her chances of securing further lucrative product endorsements through her self-confessed drug habits.

The IPKat has an idea. Since live stars so often let down the brand that they're supposed to be boosting, why don't brand owners seek endorsement exclusively from dead ones? You can hardly go wrong with Elvis, James Dean, Jimi Hendrix, Einstein or Mozart (seen here, left, endorsing Mirabell products), since their portfolio of objectionable activities was closed upon their death. Merpel says, in some cases their activities, which seemed antisocial when they commiited them, might now seem positively endearing ...

What Katy really did here

3 Japanese copyright law: a festschrift

Dr Gerhard Schricker is best known for his authoritative commentary on German copyright law. He also directed the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property until his retirement in 2003, since which time he has been freed from administrative shackles and enabled to pursue his own research and domestic interests.

The IPKat has just been looking at a rather lovely collection of essays on Japanese copyright law, edited by the Max Planck's Peter Ganea, Christopher Heath and Hiroshi Saito. The chapters are authored by distinguished Japanese academics such as Shikegi Chaen, Takuya Iizuka, Shinich Isa, Hisao Shiomi and Tatsuhiro Ueno, whose brief biographical notes summon up a wealth of cross-fertilisation of disciplines and legal experiences. The only thing missing, the IPKat notes, is any contribution from anyone who admits to being tarred with the brush of legal practice. The Kat thinks this is a shame. Some academics (though he's sure the editors of this work do not fall into this category) view legal practitioners as a sort of cross between the lab assistants and the rats in the maze: they conduct the experiments and indeed form their very subject-matter but are somehow not fit to pronounce on the results of the experiments.

Anyway, these essays give a remarkably good perspective on Japanese copyright law in terms of its history, its reaction to the Berne Convention norms, its response to modern technological challenges, its regulation of copyright-related contracts and its enforcement. The book is not a daunting read: its nine segmented chapters only cover 130 or so pages, followed by an appendix containing all the relevant laws. Published in hardback by Kluwer Law International, the book is quite pricey at 130 euro/US$166, but that is not surprising, given the relatively specialist readership of English-language books on Japanese law. Every good IP research library should get a copy.


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