Wizards and Fake Scots

India finds eBay (temporarily) liable

The Times reports that JK Rowling has won an injunction against eBay in relation to the sale of unauthorised copies of her Harry Potter novels. The interim injunction was awarded by the High Court in Delhi and is in place until the hearing resumes on 23 May. At issue are Harry Potter ebooks – Rowling has never authorised the conversion of her novels into ebooks.

Rowling’s lawyer argues:
“In Indian copyright law, if the premises of a person is being used for an infringing activity, that person would be liable for that activity…The market is not immune from liability.”
The IPKat says that this decision puts eBay in a difficult position. Policing a system like eBay for every infringing item put up for sale is seemingly an impossible task.

Check mate?

CBC and MaineToday report that a couple from Maine have sued US retailer LL Bean over copyright in a tartan. The tartan was designed in 1964 to represent the state of Maine, but the couple allege that they acquired the rights to it in 1993 and have been manufacturing tartan to the design in 1964. LL Bean has used the tartan for its Americana Tartan Shirt. Said a spokeswoman:
"L.L. Bean holds that tartan was intended as a symbol of the state of Maine, which places it in the public domain to be used by the government to promote Maine in a positive manner," she said. "It was in this spirit that L.L. Bean included the Maine State Tartan in our Americana Tartan Series."
The IPKat says that the idea that anything commissioned by a state authority to promote it is in the public domain is a new one on him. Aside from anything else, it would do considerable violence to Art.6ter of the Paris Convention.
Wizards and Fake Scots Wizards and Fake Scots Reviewed by Anonymous on Monday, February 26, 2007 Rating: 5


  1. If you mean state as in nation state, section 105 of the US copyright code prevents the Federal government from having a copyright on works it creates. States as in Maine can and do have copyright to their works. Sounds like LLBean confused the federal rule with the state rule.

  2. Copyright over Tartan? Is that even possible? Further, several government departments have logos and emblems that they use to identify themselves. Those clearly are not in the public domain.


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