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IP in the News - 15 April 2016

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Hyperlinking and copyright

Record and film companies could now find it even harder to take effective action to prevent pirated content appearing on websites. We already know from a previous European Court decision (NLA v PRCA, in which we acted for the NLA) that no action can be taken against someone who watches a pirate movie or listens to an unauthorised music stream on their computer or portable device. However, if an opinion of the Advocate General issued in the Playboy case is followed by the Court of Justice of the European Union, any website which links to a website where pirated material is available does not infringe copyright. This is the case even if the website making the link available knew full well that the material was unlawful, and even if they charged for access to that material.

Damages, designs and patents

The US Supreme Court has agreed to consider the extent to which Samsung should have been required to pay Apple profit based on the total sales price of their phones rather than a percentage which reflected the part of the phone protected by the design patent which Samsung was found to have infringed for copyright pages.

8 second tv extract, sporting events and copyright

The UK High Court has found 8 second clips of highlights from cricket matches to infringe copyright in the broadcasts. The judge said that it was important to bear in mind recent CJEU cases rather than the older UK cases when considering copyright infringement and the defences, and found that the “reporting current event” defence did not apply in this case as the purpose was not to report a current event, nor was the use fair [the EWCB v Tixdaq case].

Names and trade marks

Kylie Minogue is opposing applications in the US by Kylie Jenner, who (apparently) featured in the TV show Keeping Up With The Kardashians, to trade mark the name Kylie for beauty and fashion products.

Hacking, security and data

The BBC reported that children’s electronic learning company VTech have sought to limit its liability for third party hacks in its terms and conditions following a hack into their systems last year, said to have given access to over 6m children’s accounts. Such a clause, if effective, would not avoid their obligations under the Data Protection Act to keep data secure, which could lead to an investigation and penalties from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Music, sport and copyright

Five of the Indian Premier League cricket teams have agreed to pay royalties to singers for use of their songs, which are usually blasted out whenever the player comes on to the field, and when there are fours, sixes or wickets. Since a good few seconds of the songs tend to be played each time, it is difficult to see an argument why they shouldn’t.

Music and copyright

Listen to “Taurus” by Spirit and “Stairway To Heaven” by Led Zeppelin and there are no doubt similarities. The bands played together in the ‘60s but Jimmy Page has been reported as saying that he had not heard the Spirit track until 2014 as part of the case, although he did find a copy in his record collection. A US Judge has referred the matter to a jury trial on 10 May.

Trade secrets and Europre

The Trade Secrets Directive was adopted by the European Parliament on 14 April and will now have to be implemented into national law within the new two years. The Directive seeks to harmonise the law on protecting undisclosed know how and business information.
 

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