The IPKat presents the first in an occasional new series, which Merpel has insisted that he name “Kitty Litter”. This aim of this series is to bring misunderstandings of intellectual property to the attention of readers.

The first example of such a misunderstanding assailed the ears of IPKat blogmeister Ilanah while listening to Thought for the Day, Radio 4’s morning pseudo-theology slot. Anne “Agony” Atkins, former agony aunt for the Daily Telegraph began her tirade against over-regulation with the words
For the last few weeks our daughter has been teaching our two year old the first strains of Once in Royal David's City. The slightly optimistic idea behind this is that Rosalie will melt the heart of the neighbourhood when we go carol singing. But alas, there's to be no more good cheer in exchange for a mug of punch or mince pie. Though we've never accepted money, we might now need a Live Performance Licence to sing carols in public - probably applied for in triplicate last February.

Anne Atkins - her words will have IP lawyers in agony

The IPKat points out that Ms Atkins is rallying against a man of straw. Once in Royal David’s City was written in 1848 and set to music in 1849. Like many carols, it is well out of copyright and no one can use copyright law to stop her daughter from singing her heart out.

The IPKat invites readers to send him other examples of flawed understanding of IP for posting.

THE IPKAT PRESENTS...KITTY LITTER THE IPKAT PRESENTS...KITTY LITTER Reviewed by Anonymous on Thursday, December 08, 2005 Rating: 5


  1. I think the IPKat is being a bit oversensitive about the use of the word 'licence'. Anne was not referring to licence of the copyright, but of a licence to provide entertainment, as required by the government

    Obviously, this still only applies to premises and not to carol singers - but maybe she was being a bit tongue in cheek!

  2. I noticed that too, but I assumed that the licence she was talking about was for public entertainment on the streets, not copyright. I applaud the idea of posting these misunderstandings as they are many and disturbing. You can find a few old chestnuts at the moment at Copyright suffers a lot but I think there is also a lot of scope for a better understanding of what the patent system is for Ian Karet and David Rosenberg brought out during the JIPLP launch.

  3. This is nothing to do with carol singers, as the entertainment licence link makes plain. This is a plain copyright issue.

    As to the IP Dog's assertion, the CZJ/Douglas cover pic remains on the blog unless the IP Dog can persuade the IPKat that, on the current state of UK law, the link is indeed a fresh intrusion on the couple's privacy, which the IPKat strenuously denies.

  4. Richard McD Bridge's comment is posted by "rogerthechorister". Isn't that unlawful too, or is the government issuing licences ...?


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