For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Wednesday whimsies

Forthcoming IP events. Have you checked out the IPKat's Forthcoming Events page lately? There plenty of events listed -- conferences, forums, courses, seminars, lectures, summer schools -- some of which are free to attend. Many of the paying events offer reductions in the registration fee in favour of readers of the IPKat weblog.  The list is always changing, as new ones are added to it to replace those that take place.  Do check our Forthcoming Events page out: you'll find it just here.


BLACA/IPKat seminar. While on the subject of events, next week sees the joint event run by Blaca and the IPKat: a discussion of the topic "Are human rights moral rights?" (click here for full details).  The date is Wednesday 12 February and the venue is the London office of IP-themed law firm Bird & Bird.  Star attractions are Bird & Bird partner and Cyberleagle blogger Graham Smith and our very own Eleonora Rosati.  Now, we have a little problem with this seminar which is that it is fully booked but we have some lovely souls on our waiting list who would really like to attend.  If you are one of the lucky ones who registered early, but find that you can't come after all, do please email Tom and let him know, so we can break the good news to one of our "waitinglistees" that there is room for them after all!


The mononymic (or, if you prefer, mononymous) musician Prince has attracted a good deal of attention of late, not least because of his propensity to bite the hands of the fans who feed him. The IPKat has received quite a few emails from readers wondering whether this blog will touch upon the matter.  Fortunately, we have a guest contribution from katfriend and Queen Mary IP postgrad Rebecca Gulbul which addresses the star's copyright enforcement policy. Rebecca writes:
You have to kiss a lot of these
before you find a Prince
"Last Tuesday, Prince filed a lawsuit in San Francisco’s US District Court against 22 internet users for bootlegging. Two days after deciding to sue each bootlegger for $1m (approximately £600,000), he announced that he was dropping the action. Bootlegging, for those who are unsure of the meaning of the term, refers to the making and distribution of unapproved videos -- and it unequivocally amounts to copyright infringement as the music is copied without the author’s permission. Prince deplored the fact that these users were providing links of his performances on their websites or Facebook pages for the public to download, on the basis that the availability of these illegal videos encouraged people to access these instead of his official ones.  
Prince’s decision to sue the internet users was heavily criticised. His fans accused him of going to war against them, since some of the web pages he had decided to sue were in fact fan pages dedicated to him. Had there not been a fan base, there would have been no demand for his videos: all this meant was that his fans appreciated his music. The bootleggers have since removed the contested material from their websites. We may question if Prince really intended to sue them or only used the threat of litigation to have the links removed from the Internet. 
Why sue if you can strum?
(image on poster/T-shirt here)
Prince has engaged in litigation before. In 2007, he filed a claim against YouTube, eBay and The Pirate Bay for encouraging copyright infringement. However, he never went through with the claim. Online piracy is a worrying growing phenomenon since the availability of high quality music in digital format has made it possible for illegal copies to be made more easily and for those to be of good quality. Many people have turned to those rather than paying for their music. Copyright infringement is becoming harder to control and a problem for which no adequate solution has been found yet. Prince is due to release a new album this year, but he may find difficult in today’s social media age to completely prevent people from distributing his work without his permission".

While on the subject of The Pirate Bay, there has been a recent decision by the Court of Appeal of The Hague, The Netherlands. The Kats have learned about it from reader Peter Craddock (katpat!), who sums it up with the comment that seems to say “blocking = ineffective => disproportionate”. This Kat confesses that he hasn't actually read the ruling in the original Dutch, though he is grateful to Peter for letting him know that there has been a handy ArsTechnica article on it in English here.


Around the weblogs. There's another new blog on the block, the Israel Technology Law Blog, authored by Eli Greenbaum (an attorney with the Jerusalem law firm of Yigal Arnon & Co.)  It's early days yet, but net neutrality, collective rights and antitrust are among the author's earliest topics.  Turning now to the old blogs, Fidel Porcuna reports on Class 46 on a powerful Spanish ruling against a smell-alike competitor of Puig (which produces the Prada, Paco Rabanne and Nina Ricci fragrances) that appears to apply on a pan-European basis. Class 99 notes a recent decision (D. Jacobson v Crocs) in which Mr Justice Warren declined to order a stay of Community design infringement proceedings because, among other things, the witnesses were growing older.

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