Saturday Sundry

As German national this Kat cannot cast her vote in the upcoming UK General Election but she is, of course, following the news. Sometimes, the UK is really rather similar to good ol' Germany - as in when the campaigning is overall a little... errm less than inspired, parties tend to start using "controversial" election posters to get some media attention.

Being partial to TV shows about time travelling police officers, this Kat was only mildly surprised when she recently noticed the Labour party's campaign poster which depicted Conservative candidate David Cameron as TV detective Gene Hunt from the BBC's 80's drama Ashes to Ashes (top left). The Conservatives appeared rather pleased with this comparison and re-used the poster with a more Tory friendly slogan (left).

Now, here is the IP angle, according to a report by the Telegraph: neither party asked for permission to use the Ashes to Ashes picture. The Telegraph also cites a statement by Kudos, who are the production company behind the TV series: "Kudos own the copyright to the image from Ashes to Ashes and as both Kudos and the BBC are non-partisan and do not endorse any political party, Kudos lawyers have written to both parties to request they cease the use of the image for their own promotion."

The Telegraph concludes its report on this story rather nicely with some information the Digital Economy Bill which was "rushed through" by Parliament in the 'washup' period before the election; the bill that is meant to "protect intellectual property from internet pirates." I also see why one could see this as "derogatory treatment of a work". Then again (being politically impartial) this Kat thinks that the whole poster saga looks a bit like an own goal. Kudos shouldn't really mind a bit of extra publicity for their show. Also, before an election such minor controversies provide some light entertainment. I am thinking back to last year's German General election which brought a bemused German electorate the poster on the right ('We have more to offer').
Saturday Sundry Saturday Sundry Reviewed by Birgit Clark on Saturday, April 10, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. None of the candidates in Kreuzberg were any match for Hans-Christian Ströbele, including Lengsfeld. The incumbent won win an absolute majority, or close to. I believe that Angela Merkel was slightly cross at the use of her image. The Neo-Communist candidate tried to outdo her conservative contender by showing her lower back...

    There was also another IP issue during the last German general election. Civil libertarians organised a contest about who could best doctor the caption on the CDU's law-and-order-style control-freak then-minister of the Interior, Wolfgang Schäuble. The original poster showed Herr Minister seated in an aircraft serenely and intently reading a newspaper. The original text read "Wir haben die Kraft" - "We have the strength". Proposals modified the original image with lines such as "we [instill] fear", "we have your IP address", etc. The photographer who took the photo complained about the unauthorized use of his work. I don't know how the story ended. It was however noted that the theme was hardly original, having been previously used in the previous election for Gerhard Schröder.

  2. Never mind. You are an EU national so you can vote in local elections and in elections to the European Parliament.

  3. I think the UK elections have also raised issues of data protection - misusing personal information obtained for one purpose and using it for other unconnected purposes... i.e. using contact information obtained as a result of asking whether people wanted to be kept up to date about a single local issue, and then using the details to send general election information and other propaganda

  4. Ah, the German kat likes LOM and A2A!

  5. The SNP is at it too - see here:

    Apparently Philip Glenister (the actor involved) isn't happy about his image being used in this way either, although I'm not sure how far this is actually covered by copyright law?

    And I never imagined how relevant being an A2A/LOM fan would be to IP or the elections!

  6. This irritates me - fine and dandy for the Conservatives and Labour to rip off someone elses intellectual property without reproach. Meanwhile, the UK population is told how bad copyright infringement is in terms of file sharing! To top it off, the government wants to give recording companies the power to label everyone as guilty of infringement and have their internets cut off without the chance to defend themselves.

  7. The French UMP (Sarkozy's party), which is pushing with one hand its HADOPI law through, but gladly pilfers IP rights with the other one. It nabbed a song composed by Québec songwriter Luc Plamondon for a painfullly ridiculous lip-synched clip. The songwriter is not amused.


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