In 2021, artist Mason Rothschild launched metabirkins.com and announced that he would be selling non-fungible tokens (“NFTs”) called MetaBirkins. The MetaBirkins offering consisted of 100 NFTs depicted as fury purses that resembled the well-known Birkin bag. Hermѐs, owner of the BIRKIN trademark as well as the BIRKIN trade dress, took issue with Rothschild’s MetaBirkins NFTs and sent a cease and desist letter. Despite Hermѐs’ demands, Rothschild refused to discontinue the sale of the MetaBirkins NFTs.Read More
On 24 November 2022, the Australian Attorney-General the Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP announced the Attorney-General’s Department intention to release an issues paper for public consultation, as the first stage of a review into Australia’s current copyright enforcement regime. The broad aim of the review is to understand:
- Current and emerging copyright enforcement priorities and challenges;
- Whether Australia’s copyright enforcement regime remains relevant, effective and proportionate; and
- Whether existing enforcement mechanisms need to be strengthened, and if so, how this could be done without imposing unreasonable administrative or economic burdens.
“80% of the souvenirs sold in Australia purporting to represent First Nations cultures are in fact imitation products. These inauthentic items have no connection to First Nations peoples and are often cheaply made imports.”
This extraordinary statistic was presented by Ann Sudmalis MP, Chair of the Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs which tabled the 2018 Report on the impact of inauthentic art and craft in the style of First Nations peoples (Report).Read More
Considering the UK’s rich history of literature, it may be somewhat surprising to know that there was very little case law discussing whether copyright might subsist in a fictional character. However, on 8 June 2022, the UK courts finally tackled whether a fictional character can be protected under copyright law in Shazam Productions Ltd v Only Fools The Dining Experience Ltd & Ors  EWHC 1379 (IPEC).Read More
NFTs have gone mainstream. But what are NFTs? Should your business develop its own NFT? How are they regulated? In The NFT Collection series of alerts, we will delve into these questions to help your business understand this new technology.Read More
Bad faith has been a hot topic in UK and EU trade mark matters in recent years – not least in the sports world where recent prominent cases have concerned the football superstars, and one time teammates, Lionel Messi and Neymar. Whilst in those cases bad faith was found to be a valid ground for refusal of the trade marks in question, which the players did not consent to, a recent decision of the Appointed Person in the United Kingdom has provided an important clarification on how bad faith objections must be raised in the UK.Read More
Even global stardom will not make copyright woes levitate away from British superstar Dua Lipa. The pop icon is making headlines following a week of back-to-back, bi-coastal lawsuits alleging copyright infringement with her hit “Levitating.” First, on Tuesday March 1st, members of reggae band Artikal Sound System sued Dua Lipa for copyright infringement in a Los Angeles federal district court1. Then, on Friday March 4th, songwriters L. Russell Brown and Sandy Linzer filed their own copyright infringement lawsuit against the pop star in a New York federal district court2. Both lawsuits were filed claiming violations of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §§ 101 et seq.3Read More
On Friday 29 October, the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (the “UKIPO”) launched a consultation entitled “Artificial Intelligence and IP: copyright and patents” (see here), which closes 11:45pm on 7 January 2022 (London time). The consultation forms part of the UK government’s ‘National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy’ (the “Strategy”), which followed the government’s 2017 Industrial Strategy publication.
The aim of the consultation is to determine the right incentives for Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) development and innovation, while continuing to promote human creativity and innovation.Read More
The UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has found that an influencer’s Instagram reel and story breached the advertising regulations. All advertising made by influencers must make it clear that it is an advert, otherwise brands, even if they have no control, will be held jointly responsible.Read More
A clear cut case of copyright infringement involving Twisted Sister’s hit song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (WNGTI) has demonstrated the Court’s willingness to award significant financial penalties where intellectual property rights have been “flagrantly” infringed.
In Universal Music Publishing Pty Ltd v Palmer (No 2)  FCA 434, Justice Katzmann of the Federal Court ordered Australian businessman and United Australia Party (UAP) founder Clive Palmer to pay AU$1.5 million in damages after finding that he had infringed copyright in WNGTI. Katzmann J notably awarded AU$1 million in additional damages, two-thirds of the total award, under section 115(4) of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) (Act).
The action was brought against Mr Palmer by joint applicants Universal Music Publishing Pty Ltd and Songs of Universal (collectively, Universal), which are the exclusive Australian licensee and copyright assignee respectively.Read More