Wednesday whimsies

It's those tattoos again. The IPKat's good Dutch friend and self-confessed faithful reader Roland Wigman (Versteeg Wigman Sprey advocaten, Amsterdam), referring to Eleonora's recent blogpost on tattoos and copyright, takes this opportunity to let us know that there are two, not-so-recent, Dutch cases on copyright in tattoos. In neither case, though, did the court have to determine whether a tattoo design, in and of itself, was protected by copyright.  He adumbrates:
"In 2005 (case ECLI:NL:RBAMS:2005:AT6301) the internationally renowned (so the court said) tattoo artist Henk Schiffmacher sued public broadcaster VARA for copyright infringement. The facts were like this: in 1996 the German publisher Taschen published a book entitled 1000 Tattoos, edited by Schiffmacher and with photgraphs and designs which were apparently made available by the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum (a Henk Schiffmacher enterprise). In 2005 VARA broadcast a show entitled "Kopspijkers" (which I believe translates into English as 'hobnails'). In the décor were (parts of) tattoos from the book depicted. Schiffmacher sued for copyright infringement. The question whether the tattoos were copyright works was not an issue (it was not contested). Schiffmacher lost because he couldn't prove his claims that he was the designer of a number of the tattoos, or that he had acquired the rights in the other tattoos. A claim for copyright in the collection of tattoos was also dismissed, since Schiffmacher couldn’t prove that he was the author of the collection (under Dutch law, copyright may be vested in a collection such as “the collected short stories of the 19th century”, but such copyright protects only against copying of the collection as such). Finally, Schiffmacher also based his claim on copyright in the photographs of the tattoos, but he couldn't prove  that he was either the photographer or the owner of the copyrights in the photographs.
Humphrey, who has no wish to be
tattooed, decided to grow
his own defences
The other case was in 2006 (case ECLI:NL:RBAMS:2006:AY1081). A public domain painting of a scantily dressed Mexican woman (dark hair, dark eyes and bronze skin) and said to be kitsch (all according to the court) was adapted by a tattoo artist. (I believe it was the same Henk Schiffmacher). He had painted tattoos on the woman's neck, back and arms and two tears on her cheeks [which ones, muses Merpel], all in blue. This work was printed as a so-called freecard by publisher Boomerang with permission from the artist. The artist then saw someone with a T-shirt bearing the adapted painting. He sued the manufacturer. The court held that, irrespective of copyright in the various tattoos themselves, the adapted painting was clearly a new work that in itself was protected by copyright. The T-shirts were infringing".

Would anyone confuse the
Commission with 'experts'?
Around the weblogs.  PatLit is hosting the first of a pair of guest posts from J. Sai Deepak (founder of The Demanding Mistress) on the impact of Indian competition law on patent litigation in that highly patent-active subcontinent; the second post in this mini-series will be online by the end of the week.  On the MARQUES Class 46 weblog guest Kat Laetitia has written up a good note on a General Court decision in which the European Commission found itself obliged to take action in order to protect the public against what might be seen as a misappropriation of its own symbols: the euro sign and its cute little stars. The jiplp weblog is currently calling for volunteers to review social media: seven blogs and Twitter accounts are up for grabs, here.

Red Bus takes off.  Astonishingly, for an event that was only launched on Monday, the Art & Artifice event  [click here for full details] on 24 October on the Red Bus copyright case and its impact (if any!) has already attracted 67 registrations, despite the fact that it's the holiday season.  Hosts Simmons & Simmons will additionally be arranging guided tours of some of the treasures of their art collection that are housed at CityPoint: registrants will be asked, a couple of weeks before the event, whether they wish to take advantage of this facility.  The firm is also organising CPD points for UK-based practitioners. If you've not yet signed up for this event but intend to do so, it's best to do so now, to avoid being waiting-listed.

What our annual Meeting would be like
if it weren't for our generous hosts ...
IP Publishers and Editors Meeting. The IPKat's annual IP Publishers and Editors Meeting for 2013 will take place in Central London on Tuesday 26 November -- sufficiently far from the end-of-year holiday to make it easier for those dealing with printers' deadlines to be able to attend.  As usual, those who have attended and/or been invited in previous years will be circularised with an invitation/reminder.  If you are involved in IP publishing or editing, whether for print products or online, but have not previously been invited and think you should be joining us, just email this Kat at with the subject line "IPPub 2013" and tell him; he will then add you to the list.   For the uninitiated, the format is as follows: admission is free; registration starts at mid-day, pleasant buffet and networking from 12.30pm; keynote speaker (to be announced) at 1.00 pm; event ends 2.30 pm. Last stragglers evicted from venue 3.00 pm.

Coming soon: Indiana
Jones and the Lost Email
And now for an embarrassing confession: having been pipped at the post by Simmons & Simmons for the privilege of hosting the 2012 Meeting, a kind and friendly partner in another leading London practice offered to host this year's meeting.  Most touched by this kind offer, this Kat printed out the offer and put it in a safe, safe, safe place where there was absolutely no possibility of it being lost. Well, it now seems that the place of concealment was so safe that there is currently no reasonable prospect of it being found either. Accordingly this Kat, full of the most abject apologies, is asking the person who made that generous offer to get in touch with him as soon as possible, so that the invitations can be finalised (this has to be done fairly early, since this Meeting attracts publishers from abroad as well as from the UK).  Merpel says: in the event that this kind person does not, or cannot, repeat the offer, it might be a good idea if other prospective hosts could get in touch, emailing the Kat at with the subject line "Memory Loss" "Venue Offer".

Some folk never
quite understand
the concept of
pro bono ...
Pro bono in the United Kingdom. Monday's Miscellany contained a request by Teri Karobonik (Staff Attorney Fellow, New Media Rights), who found it strange that her US-based group, which provides one-to-one legal services in the areas of IP, internet and entertainment law at low-to-no-cost for all types of creators, has had a recent influx of requests for help from the United Kingdom: "I have no idea where to send people for help. Do you know of any law school clinics or non-profits within the United Kingdom that do pro-bono (or low cost) IP work?"

As usual, readers have come to the rescue (thanks and katpats to you all!) Francis Davey confirms that the Open Rights Group is "not a law firm" and that, while it has occasionally been able to provide advice and support, the Group really needs one or more legal mentors to help work something out that would work on a more regularised basis -- perhaps, for example, a reasonably senior partner in a reasonable sized firm and/or the involvement of university law departments. If you have the time and the expertise, please let Francis know by email here.

Francis reminds us that the Bar Pro Bono Unit (BPU) does this sort of work too -- though the BPU aren't IP specialists and also have some fairly strict financial filtering that would preclude many small businesses obtaining their help. So far as student law clinics are concerned, he cites Queen Mary London's Law for the Arts advice centre, here. There are a few caveats regarding student law clinics too: in particular, (i) they may be only sporadically available, lacking support out of term; and (ii) they often limited in scope in unhelpful ways.

Mary Smillie (Rouse) mentions some impressive pro bono work done through Own-It, which provides IP advice by email and after face-to-face consultation. A further positive mention of Own-it comes from Gill White, who reminds us that this service, based at the University of the Arts London, is not exclusively open to students or alumni. Own-It runs seminars and has a good website with articles, podcasts and FAQs etc. Gill adds:
"you can send in questions by email and they also do 45 minute clinics. They only charge an admin fee for the clinics and the lawyers who actually do the clinics provide their time on a pro-bono basis".
Wednesday whimsies Wednesday whimsies Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. There have also been disputes over tattoos and copyright in the US, a few years ago. See for example the appendix to an exam I wrote in 2006.


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