Monday, March 23, 2009

Street View

Today IP Freely has mostly been enjoying the delights of Street View, it's simply fantastic.

Currently the favourite photo has to be this beauty....ouch

As for the whole privacy issues (this is a blawg I guess so I should probably write something relevant) WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH. The fact is I could go down the road taking photos and there's buggar all anyone can do about it, on top of which if you don't like it then fill the form in and get Google to take it down. EASY

Virtual bank?

Regular readers will be aware of IP Freely's interest in the phenomenon that is virtual worlds. I was therefore extremely interested to read a piece on the BBC site regarding 'Entropia Universe'. It would appear that they have been granted a 'bank' licence by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, this allows them to "be in a position to offer real bank services to the inhabitants of our virtual universe,".

It will allow Mindark (the people behind Entropia) to offer interest bearing accounts, deposit salaries, pay bills and give loans. For those of you worried about Iceland esque crashes you will be pleased to hear each account is protected by deposit insurance up to £42,000.

Personally IP Freely will be sticking to a traditional account for the time being, but could this be the future?

Full article available here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Round up!

Well I haven't written anything new for a while and in this time an incredible number of interesting cases / issues have arisen. This post aims to give an overview to, or more likely just link you to other people who have more interesting things to say!

First on the list (a very out-law based list) is the news from WIPO that the number of domain name disputes in the past year have increased by 8%, according to WIPO's director: "Cybersquatting remains a serious issue for trademark holders," shocking news? I think not. It seems likely that with the introduction of new TLD's will only create more problems. I have written about the introduction of these before and without going over the issues again what I will say is that it is simply a money making scheme which will create more expense for businesses in a time when they are trying to cut back.

The next point (and my second favourite of this round up) also comes from out-law and shows quite how far social networking site Twitter has come. A juror in the States (all fools anyway?) made tweets (see IP Freely knows the lingo) regarding the case. The verdict they reached is now being appealed on the basis that the juror was biased, examples of his tweets are as follows:

"Nobody buy Stoam. Its bad mojo and they'll probably cease to Exist, now that their wallet is 12m lighter,"
"I just gave away TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS of somebody else's money"

and best of all is the following, bear in mind that at this stage he had already been found out for his Twittering, so what did he do?........:

"Well, I'm off to see a judge. Hope they don't lock me under the jail, and forget about me for four days,"


Finally from out-law is a tremendous story about yet another idiot. This time someone infringed their own patent! Basically the guy involved went on BBC2 hit show Dragons Den, unlike most contestants (if they're called that) he managed to convince the dragons to invest £150,000 into his business: the Rapstrap. Unfortunately for all involved this muppet had already got a patent for the product 10 years previous when he worked for a different firm, the IPO have confirmed that the Rapstrap "falls within the scope of claims 1 and 5 of the patent," what action is taken remains to be seen.

The ever reliable IPKat features two cases that caught IP Freely's eye: the Google France v. Louis Vuitton Malletier case (C- 236/08) and the Beta Layout case (although for the latter we are awaiting a full translation), I suggest you head over to the feline page to peruse their views.

Also on IP Freely's recent radar is the case of Times Newspapers Limited (Nos 1 and 2) v United Kingdom (Applications Nos 3002/03 and 23676/03), tactfully reported in the Times Law Reports (here) this not surprisingly featured the Times Newspaper.

This week IP Freely has also been fascinated with the ongoing West Ham / Tevez / Sheffield United saga (and you can possibly add to that list Neil Warnock / the players / Ledds United) which seems to become more farcical by the day. Now as I see it surely the damage suffered by Leeds United (and Neil Warnock etc) is too remote? I would though like the views of those more experienced than me on this......anyone?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

UK users blocked from music vids

Youtube's negotiation with the PRS (Performing Rights Society) have ground to a halt as "PRS is now asking us to pay many, many times more for our licence than before,". Unfortunately for us this has led to Youtube blocking access to music videos for UK users.

Youtube already have deals sorted with three of the four major record labels, such deals though only cover the video and performance rights whereas the PRS represent the publishers who own the songwriting rights.

IP Freely is really dissapointed with this, there are NO winners just losers.

However IP Freely takes heart from the following statement by Youtube: "We're still working with PRS for Music in an effort to reach mutually acceptable terms for a new licence, but until we do so we will be blocking premium music videos in the UK that have been supplied or claimed by record labels. This was a painful decision, and we know the significant disappointment it will cause within the UK...We hope that professional music videos will soon be back on YouTube for our users in the UK to enjoy."

Luckily there is still a raft of probably copyright infringing live vids on there, including one of IP Freely's favourites:

Everyone has had a bit of this pie, check out what they think: Out-law, IP Kat, and the Beeb.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Online brand abuse on the rise

According to the BBC.

Bad news for brand owners = good news for IP lawyers.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

REM shoot themselves in the foot

US "rock" giants REM have issued a copyright infringement claim against Danish pop outfit Hej Matematik.

REM's record label Warners accuse Hej Matematik of copying parts of 'Supernatural Superserious' (a track recorded in 2008) in their recent release 'Walkmand'. However the Danish duo have informed Warner's that their track is in fact a cover of a 1980's hit by a Michael Hardinger, Hei Matematik stated:

"We really can't hear the similarity ourselves and if there's any at all, then it would be that 'Walkmand' originated from a sample of Michael Hardinger’s 'Walk, Mand!!' from 1981."

Michael Hardinger is reported to have given the thumbs up to Hei Matematik's version but their is no indication as to any agreement with REM. Hei Matematik are now trying to settle with REM and Warner's, it may well be though that Hardinger gets dragged in to the dispute.

IP Freely never particularly liked REM anyway and waits to see if Hardinger decides to issue against them! It is however unlikely.