Computers & law – call for papers

The VIth World Computer Law Conference is taking place at the University of Edinburgh between 4-8 September 2006.

Contributions are sought in all legal aspects of the information society, but papers on IP aspects are particularly welcome.

If you want to take part though, you’d better get your skate on – abstracts of no more than 600 words are due in THIS FRIDAY (31 March).

Full details, including where to submit your papers, are available here.

Peter Panned

The BBC is attempting to combat the sale of Blue Peter badges on eBay. The badges, featuring the Blue Peter ship’s logo, are given to children who contribute to the Blue Peter television programme and enable them to gain free access to all sorts of nice touristy places. Blue Peter editor Richard Mason said:
"We know how hard children work to earn a badge, and we are doing our best to ensure that this long-standing Blue Peter institution is not undermined."

The IPKat can’t quite work out what the BBC’s objection is here. From Mason’s comments, it looks like he’s afraid of the diminution in the exclusivity of the badge, and so is mounting some kind of quasi-dilution argument. If the badges are fakes then he can understand the BBC’s position. More difficult issues arise if the badges in question are genuine Blue Peter badges. The IPKat reckons that there would be no exhaustion of rights defence here because the badges have been given away, rather than put on the market in the EEA, but it seems pretty rough if recipients can’t dispose of something that they have been given.


Peter Groves said...

I never earned a Blue Peter badge, but my wife is the proud holder of one. It seems to me that you need to distinguish the badge itself from the privileges that go with it, and it cannot be right that those privileges were ever intended to be transferrable. It's possible to buy military medals, but if a pension was awarded to the recipient of the decoration the purchaser of the medal doesn't qualify for that. If a Blue Peter badge entitles the bearer to certain privileges, then I think it's right for the BBC to try to control sales of them. In future, they would be well-advised not to make an outright gift of the badges, wouldn't they?

GUY said...

Blue Peter badges are given to worthy children who have done some act of bravery, kindness or other deed of virtue. Due to the respect for the awards many establishments that attract children allow free or reduced price entry to those wearing Blue Peter badges. The badges have been around for more than two decades so that many of the earlier recipients are beyond the age of attending such establishments and are recycling the badges by passing them to their children or selling them. Purchase of a badge for £30 will more than pay for itself over a summer holiday when taking kids to the zoo, etc.

The Edinburgh Zoo is apparently the first to end free entry for Blue Peter badge wearers and others may follow devaluing the award.

To retain its exclusivity the BBC should offer to buy Blue Peter from recipients as they grow up.

Anonymous said...

The BBC should offer to buy BP badges from recipients? What a waste of license payer's money. The simplest solution would be to end the "privileges" which would lead to an end of the market in these fakes. Surely the honour of owning such a badge is enough and financial reward is not appropriate.

My general view of the story though is that we are living in sad times.

Powered by Blogger.