Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Don't defame my blog I know what to do

A rather interesting case on online defamation has turned up.

The basic facts are as follows: Christopher Carrie is the author of a book in which he makes claims that he was sexually abused by a Father John Tolkien (a priest) son of the famous writer JRR Tolkien (author of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings).

Carrie had been publishing on a blog under a pseudonym promoting his book and website, JRR Tolkien's grandson had posted a comment on the blog claiming that Carrie was lying and had tried to defraud the Catholic Church and the Tolkien family. Royd Tolkien also claimed that Carrie had previously admitted to lying about sexual abuse to attempt to extract money from the church.

Carrie denied these claims on his blog but did not delete them, Tolkien argued that this lack of action by Carrie effectively amounted to consent for the publication of the comments.

Mr Justice Eady Stated: "No explanation was offered for [Carrie] having taken no steps to delete it until his witness statement of 18 November 2008 was served...the explanation given, however, of putting the words 'in context' does not in any way detract from the validity of a defence of authorisation or acquiescence. The fact remains that he could have removed it at any time over the last 22 months."

The Court ruled that Carrie effectively consented to the publication of the remarks from the time that he responded to them. This provides an interesting precedent for future cases and to protect yourself from any such defamatory material the best course of action would be to delete such material as soon as it is posted.

OHIM see sense

There is much rejoicing in the IP Freely world today as we have just found out that the OHIM are changing the CTM application form: http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2009/01/news-from-ohim-new-ctm-e-filing-system.html personally I hated the old one. It was difficult to fill in and anything but logical, the new one looks pretty though (albeit akin to a facebook page) and hopefully will work properly (fingers crossed).

Friday, January 23, 2009

Over 1000 unique visitors!

So tuther day IP Freely received it's 1000th unique visitor (from 76 countries none the less), in less than three months that ain't half bad!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The music you are downloading is illegal (probably)

95% of music downloads are illegal (according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) see original BBC article here) although there has been a 25% rise in legal downloads since last year.

The chairman of the IFPI stated:
"There is a momentous debate going on about the environment on which our business, and all the people working in it, depends."

"Governments are beginning to accept that, in the debate over 'free content' and engaging ISPs in protecting intellectual property rights, doing nothing is not an option if there is to be a future for commercial digital content."

However the Open Rights Group have different views:

"We are worried by the recording industry's desire to clamp down on illicit file sharers."

"We need to see how much better these companies do by getting their services right before governments start pushing drastic and draconian laws forward."

"Growing online sales show the recording industry can win against illicit file sharing."

"If companies go further and offer the same sort of experience as P2P then they will win new revenues, and reduce copyright infringement, which we would welcome."
So where does IP Freely stand? I hear you cry. Well with the Open Rights Group if you must know, where industries have taken action before it has ended disastrously (think the computer game industries ongoing attempts) at present more time should be spent on the technologies involved as opposed to legislating to punish the "theft". All that will happen if legislation comes first is that even before the legislation is pushed through it will be outdated and useless. Before going after their customers the music (and other entertainment) industry need to look at their business models, perhaps by being creative in the way they make their money they won't need to alienate the consumer.

"What do you guys think though? Is it right for the entertainment industries to protect their interests through application of the law or should they pull the proverbial finger out and come up with new ways of doing business?"

Thursday, January 15, 2009

European Commission makes life harder for retailers?

Online shopping is predicted to account for around 50% of retail sales within 5 years, however despite it's popularity consumer confidence with the security of such transactions is low. In an attempt to remedy these fears the European Commission launched proposals to both strengthen and harmonise the rights of consumers shopping in the EU (note that the proposals also cover high street stores). Their main aim in improving consumer confidence is to increase the number of sales across EU borders and thus encourage more competition.

These proposals are aimed for implementation by 2013 however they have not been universally welcomed by retailers, basically this is because it will make it increasingly difficult for retailers to justify so called 'local pricing'. By 'local pricing' I am basically referring to the practice of charging one price to for example UK customers and a different price for Polish customers for example.

Presently consumers shopping in the EU are protected by no less than four seperate Directives:

• Doorstep Selling Directive (1985/577/EEC), this gives consumers a right of cancellation;
• Unfair Contract Terms Directive (1993/13/EEC), this prevents the use of unfair contractual terms;
• Distance Selling Directive (1997/7/EEC), this ensures consumers are given adequate information in distance selling situations (for example mail order or online sales); and
• Sale for Consumer Goods and Associated Guarantees Directive (1999/44/EEC)

The Directives have been implemented by Member States in very different ways, obviously this makes life very difficult for retailers who wish to offer products on sale across the EU. Under the new proposals the European Commission aims to ensure that Member States do not divert from their provisions.

As for the proposals themselves? Most of them are merely a consolidation of existing law but there are a couple of new points. Firstly delivery and passing of risk this is to provide that delivery is made within 30 days from the signing of the contract regardless of where the consumer is based and a right to a refund no later than 7 days from the provided delivery date. More interestingly the proposals provide that the risk is to stay with the retailer until the item is received by the consumer. Additionally there are a raft of new unfair contract terms, changes to 'door to door selling' to encompass all 'off premises selling', a ban on pre-ticked boxes for additional purchases (for example guarantees etc) and the information requirements previously found in the Distance Selling Directive are to be extended to cover online auction sites such as eBay.

As mentioned at this stage the proposals are just that, proposals but it seems likely that they will be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers in readiness for the planned implementation date of 2013.
"What do you think? Is this just bureaucracy for the sake of it? Or does the law really need updating to protect consumers?"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ronaldo Real's number 9?

IP Freely must admit that he is not a big fan of Cristiano "wheres my Ferrari gone" Ronaldo but as this is an IP blog IP Freely feels obliged to mention his new Portugeese registration for 'CR9'.

Originally reported in the Telegraph speculation has now arisen that this registration (he also has a pending CTM application for the same mark) shows that he is due to abandon the Red Devils (that's Manchester United for those of you not in the know) for sunny Spain and Real Madrid. The reason? well at United Ronaldo wears number 7 with (I think) Berbatov holding the coveted nunber 9 shirt however if he moves to Real Madrid it is believed he will take the number 9 shirt hence the applications. It also noted that perenial underachiever Saviola currently holds the 9 shirt at Real and has recently been linked with Wigan so maybe there are some legs in the story!

More interesting still is the classification for which Ronaldo has applied: "Services for providing food and drink; temporary and hotel accommodation" Ronaldo hotel anyone? I'll take the diving suite please!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Heathrow protestors in stupid shocker?

Am I missing something or have those protesting against the third runway at Heathrow completely ignored the very likely issue of a Compulsory Purchase Order? For those that aren't up to date with the situation basically a new runway is planned for Heathrow and in an attempt to stop it happening protestors have bought land on the site. However if the council continues to back the proposal then they can simply issue a CPO and force through the sale of the land, hence the protestors are wasting their time. Rant over.

What is the difference between a patent and a trade mark?

My readers seem to be a mixed bunch, however increasingly you appear to be less and less experienced with the world of intellectual property (hence why you are here!) which got me thinking that it was about time that I made a simple guide as to the differences between the different forms of IP. Now whilst this is something that I could very easily produce for you my lovely readers quite simply I can't be bothered, so erm check out this nicely written guide on Phoista.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Death to DRM

Apple have finally bowed to consumer (and to some extent industry) pressure and will allow users of iTunes to download their favourite tunes free of DRM. Previously those who downloaded via iTunes found that the songs they purchased were locked to Apple products (think ipod etc), check out the Guardian's view here.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The future of copyright

Having just read a very good and thought provoking book 'Little Brother' by Cory Doctorow (check out the site here) I did some internet snooping on the author, and what do I find? some really interesting writing on copyright and creative commons licences. You can find 'Why I Copyfight' here.

X rated post

It has been reported in a number of places that plans are afoot to introduce a film style ratings system to websites. This is the work of Andy Burnham the Culture Secretary who said (amongst other ramblings):

"If you look back at the people who created the internet they talked very deliberately about creating a space that Governments couldn’t reach. I think we are having to revisit that stuff seriously now. It’s true across the board in terms of content, harmful content, and copyright. Libel is [also] an emerging issue.

There is content that should just not be available to be viewed. That is my view. Absolutely categorical.

This is not a campaign against free speech, far from it; it is simply there is a wider public interest at stake when it involves harm to other people. We have got to get better at defining where the public interest lies and being clear about it.”

Now quite frankly IP Freely is not Mr Burnham's biggest fan at the best of times but this is really not what the doctor ordered. It seems that our Culture Secretary seems to have missed out on the internet culture as most of the issues of content regulation were discussed like 10 years ago and I fail to see how they have changed now. As for problems with copyright and libel, well what the hell do you want to do? you can't stop defamatory statements appearing online unless Mr Burnham plans to sit there and proof read EVERY SINGLE thing that is written on the net and the same with copyright infringements. Quite simply it is up to rights holders etc to keep on top of what is happening on the net, whilst this may not seem just there is no alternative. The main issues Mr Burnham should concern himself with are accountabilityand identifiability (is that even a word?) but he never was one to look at problems logically.

Anyway back to the (main) purpose of this post and that is the proposed rating system. If you want your own rating system check out this where you will find that IP Freely is:

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Just don't click on the link though as it takes you to a dating site (unless of course your looking for lurv).

What do you guys think? Do you think that a rating system is a good idea? Or a restriction too far?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

IP Freely wishes you all a successful and prosperous 2009, new posts to follow soon.