IP and the Fashion Industry Conference 2013: Part IV

Closing today's programme on IP and the Fashion Industry Conference was fellow Kat Eleonora Rosati (University of Cambridge), who took as her topic the relationship of fashion photographs to the European body of human rights law.

Freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Eleonora explained, is not absolute but is qualified by countervailing protection in favour of other values.  The protection of intellectual property rights is also respected by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Photo from ECHRBlog
Fashion shows are contolled by the fashion industry. Hpwever, they are also news which, it has been argued, are entitled to the benefit of the exception of copyright in favour of the reporting of news events, as well as the exercise of freedom of expression. These issues crystallised around French litigation against three journalists who sought to exploit their fashion show photos which was eventually the subject of a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in Ashby Donald v France (here, noted by Eleonora for the IPKat here), which concluded that there was no evidence that the sanctions of national law against the photographers had "strangled" their freedom of expression, particularly since the photographers were seeking to exercise what was effectively a right of commercial expression.

Eleonora then asked some difficult questions: for example, are photographs which were taken at fashion shows without any effort or skill other than the pressing of the camera shutter considered eligible for copyright protection?  She also observed that, under UK law, the publication of another's photograph would not be permitted under the exception in favour of news reporting; nor is it likely that, in the absence of supporting context, it would be permitted for the purposes of criticism or review.

Privacy -- another protected human right -- also impinges on the relationship between freedom of expression and the protection of property.  In this light, Eleonora discussed the Mr Rock 'n' Roll litigation (see "The Case of the Pixelated Privates", here). She also noted the comments of the European Court of Human Rights in the Pirate Bay case (blogged by Eleonora on the IPKat here) on the enforcement of copyright and its effect upon freedom of expression.
IP and the Fashion Industry Conference 2013: Part IV IP and the Fashion Industry Conference 2013: Part IV Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 Rating: 5

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