The team is joined by GuestKats Mirko Brüß, Rosie Burbidge, Nedim Malovic, Frantzeska Papadopolou, Mathilde Pavis, and Eibhlin Vardy
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SpecialKats: Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo (TechieKat), Hayleigh Bosher (Book Review Editor), and Tian Lu (Asia Correspondent).

Wednesday, 26 April 2006


Haven't an idea

Today it's World Intellectual Property Day. WIPO Director General Dr Kamal Idris, according to the WIPO press release, has emphasised the limitless value of ideas in inspiring the work of inventors and creators from which we all ultimately benefit. He adds:

"Ideas shape our world. They are the raw materials on which our future prosperity and heritage depend. This is why it is important to provide environments in which innovative ideas are encouraged and rewarded. This is why intellectual property exists".
The IPKat, who has recently been contemplating Article 2 of the WIPO Copyright Treaty ("Copyright protection extends to expressions and not to ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such") has a teeny weeny problem with this: intellectual property law doesn't actually protect ideas. Or has he missed something? Merpel says: here's a little competition: the first person to let her know if there's anything in the text of any international IP treaty or convention administered by WIPO that suggests that ideas are indeed protectable wins a bottle of bubbly with which to drink the health of IP for another year.

But here's an IDEA which is firmly protected by copyright ... and here's another one.

Criminal sanctions - another European standard looms large

The IPKat learns from Reuters, via his erudite friend Caroline Wilson, that the European Commission is set to recommend common European sanctions today against counterfeiting and piracy of goods, including at least four years in prison and a 300,000 euro ($372,700) fine. This is reputedly because different penalties in the 25 EU countries make it difficult to combat counterfeiting and piracy effectively. The EU executive recommends higher fines when there is a health or safety risk. Other possible measures are the confiscation or destruction of the objects, and a permanent or temporary ban on offenders from engaging in commercial activities.

Non-harmonised punishments: proposals from the British (above, right) and French (below, left)

The IPKat hopes that prosecutors will allowed to indulge in forum-shopping. There's really no point in imprisoning anyone in the UK because all we do is let them out. Merpel says, even the adoption of the same scale of penalties throughout Europe won't work unless judges are trained to apply them consistently throughout the EU empire. Or do we say that six weeks in a Greek jail is about as much punishment as four years in a comfy Scandivanian one?

Crime and Punishment here
Let the punishment fit the crime here

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