Chinese hotel liable for sales by shop; Apple opposes Hamburg recordings

The IPKat offers his thanks to Birgit Clark for drawing his attention to this link to some good news for the much-faked Louis Vuitton brand. The news is that the Intermediate People's Court in Dongguan City (southern Guangdong Province) has held a five-star hotel responsible for leasing space to a seller of knock-off Louis Vuitton products. The hotel was ordered to pay 100,000 yuan (US$ 13,888) together with the shop manager. Injunctive relief and destruction of infringing products was also ordered. Sadly those who like transparency -- or who just want to stay there -- the court documents didn't name the hotel, but they did record that the hotel collected a monthly rental of 20,000 yuan from leasing the shop, whose sales staff wore hotel uniforms. No public apology was however ordered, on the basis that the hotel hadn't caused the brand widespread market harm.

The IPKat is impressed with this decision, which looks like it's based on something between vicarious liability and ostensive agency. Merpel says, next time the hotel should dress the sales staff as pirates. That way it should escape liability ...

Another of the IPKat's trusted friends, Ben Challis (of Music Law Updates fame), has emailed him with details of the Beatles' company Apple Corps' plans for legal action against Miami-based Fuego Entertainment, which proposes to release live recordings of the Beatles singing various cover version during their pre-fame residency days in Hamburg. Fuego announced in January that it had acquired the rights to the live recordings off producer and promoter Jeffrey Collins, who claims to have represented the DJ who actually recorded the live Beatles show at Hamburg's Star Club in 1962. The recordings include Paul McCartney performing Hank Williams' 'Lovesick Blues' and McCartney and John Lennon singing together on 'Ask Me Why'.

The copyright situation regarding the recordings is a bit hazy. Collins says the DJ who recorded the gig had permission to do so from the venue, though it seems unlikely the band gave their go-ahead - but crucially these aren't dodgy 'audience member takes tape player into back of venue' recordings. Collins and Fuego both seem convinced the recordings can be released without infringing the copyrights of the band who appear on them, presumably because technically speaking - assuming you accept the recording was sanctioned - the sound recording copyright would originally belong to whoever made the recording, in this case Collins' DJ.

Apple however intends to sue, alleging that the recordings were unauthorised. Moreover, in the terminology of trade mark law, release of the live recordings would "dilute and tarnish" the band's memory because, says Apple, the recordings are of a poor quality.

The IPKat hopes to monitor the progress of this dispute, with a little help from his readers.

Beatles in Hamburg here
How to make a perfect Hamburger here
Chinese hotel liable for sales by shop; Apple opposes Hamburg recordings Chinese hotel liable for sales by shop; Apple opposes Hamburg recordings Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 Rating: 5

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