Something for the last weekend of 2007

As the end of the calendar year draws nigh, the IPKat team will be celebrating its demise in the same manner in which kats all round the world celebrate major milestones in their lives. But for those of you whose enhanced consciousness demands greater stimulus, this blog can provide you with some appropriately IP-flavoured food for thought.

Cliff Richard petition. The IPKat's friend Stine recently asked for helpful suggestions as to where to find Sir Cliff Richard's petition to the European Commission for an extension of copyright term.

Left: helpful training for anyone planning to use the EUROPA website

Another of his friends, Dr Catherine Seville (Director of Studies in Law, Newnham College, Cambridge - and a notable copyright enthusiast) writes:
"Your friend can find Sir Cliff's musings here. If that link doesn't work, then just go to the consultation website and you'll find it quite easily".
Catherine adds (and the IPKat sympathises):

"I have no idea how anyone finds anything on the EUROPA website unless
they actually know it's there, though".
The IPKat thanks Jan Eastaugh (Ottawa, Canada), who also sent a link to the consultation website.

A Whiter Shade of Pale. The IPKat's gratitude goes to Peter Groves (Bircham Dyson Bell), who has spotted that the recent copyright entitlement litigation over the composition of the music for Procol Harum's mega-hit "A Whiter Shade of Pale" is now available to all on BAILII. The judgment of Mr Justice Blackburne, in favour of Matthew Fisher (right) is apparently a work of sole authorship although there are signs that he has sampled a number of earlier works, including the little-known "Recording Contract", the meaning of which has attracted a great deal of speculative analysis despite rumours that the words, like those of the song itself, were quite devoid of any meaning.

AIPPI Proceedings. The IPKat has just received volume 33 (2006) of the Proceedings of the Hungarian Group of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI). This year's offerings include

* "Veil Dance Around the Patent Secret" by Dr Miklos Bendzsel (President of the Hungarian Patent Office), this being a paean of praise for the role of both patents and secrecy in the "ecology of competition";

Left: unlike humans, patented inventions can lose their secrecy while still maintaining their mystery ... [picture found on]

* Dr Katalin Szamosi and Dr Peter Lukacsi (both of SBG & K Law Office), giving a local perspective on a topic that has exercised all of us in recent years and which will not allow itself to be resolved: the ECJ's position on the registrability of thre-dimensional trade marks;

* Imre Gonda (Head of Section, Hungarian Patent Office) writing on a topic that gets little coverage, certainly in the UK - enforcement of rights in respect of vinicultural products.

Have a lovely weekend!
Something for the last weekend of 2007 Something for the last weekend of 2007 Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, December 29, 2006 Rating: 5


  1. Having now read Sir Cliff Richard's submission one thing that baffles me is why he is arguing for an extension of the term of sound recording copyright rather than an extension of the term of performers' rights (which he does not even mention!). Surely the latter would be a more suitable vehicle for attempting to achieve his objectives?

  2. Good point. When initially reading of Sir Cliff’s campaign in the national press, I assumed that it was for an extension of term for performers’ rights and that the reference to sound recording copyright was a mistake.
    My second thought was that the campaign was for sound recordings on the basis that sound recording copyright existed when Sir Cliff started his recording career, whereas performers’ rights only received statutory recognition in 1989 - but a quick look at the CDPA was enough to assure me that s.180(3) would have vested Sir Cliff retrospectively with a right that, if extended, would protect his ancient performances.
    My final thought is that the recording industry has its wits about it while musicians and performers simply failed to identify a cause that they could shout for.

  3. On the Procul Harum case, it seems to me that the whole thing can be summarised in one paragraph of the judgment (para 11):

    "[I]t is undoubtedly the case, and I find, that the organ solo is a distinctive and significant contribution to the overall composition and, quite obviously, the product of skill and labour on the part of the person who created it."

    Quite simple really. The solo was the work of Mr Fisher, and therefore he deserved a writing credit for it.

    As for Cliff Richard and the rest, I suspect that Cliff somehow acquired the rights to his earlier recordings, and wants to keep getting royalties, as he will not be getting any of the writing royalties. I don't know what happened to performers' rights of old recordings after the CDPA came into force, and have not been able to find any transitional arrangements that would help. Does anyone else know how the music industry dealt with the issues of new rights arising out of old recordings?


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