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World IP Day: Culture in the Digital Age

To celebrate World IP Day, a review of some of our recent posts on intellectual property issues connected to this year’s theme.

World IP Day is 26 April and this year the theme is culture in the digital age.  The World Intellectual Property Office website has a number of materials on the theme, including video contributions from such creators as pioneering electronic comoposer Jean Michel Jarre, who is also currently President of the Confédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Auteurs et Compositeurs, which promotes creator’s rights internationally.


(Image source: WIPO)

The internet poses both opportunities and challenges for the creative industries.  We have dealt with a number of those matters in recent blog posts.

The difficulty in generating revenue online in the face of adblocking software was the subject of our post Attack The Block, which noted the lack of an obvious legal remedy.

Copyright owners have faced particular difficulties in the online world as a result of piracy, as the current state of the music and film industries evidence.  However, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has had to weigh their rights against the interests of promoting an information society.

The recent Advocate General’s opinion in Tobias McFadden v Sony Music Entertainment Germany GmbH (C-484/14) suggests that free wifi network operators, such as cafes, should not be held liable for copyright infringement by the users of those networks, as discussed in New Adventures in Wifi.

The CJEU judgment in McFadden v Sony is awaited, as is the judgment in GS Media BV v Sanoma Media Netherlands BV and Others (C-160/15).  In a similar vein, the Advocate General’s opinion in that case suggests that the copyright owner’s rights (in leaked photographs for Playboy magazine) should not result in finding that a hyperlink to freely-available infringing material is an infringement in itself.  See more in our post Pin-up Pirates.

The cultural industries are just as interested as other industries in protecting their brands, if not more so.  However, the ability to protect a band name by a registered trade mark may not be as easy as some might think, as discovered by the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain and discussed in our post Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Mark.

The World IP Day theme also embraces technological innovations which enable the creation and consumption of culture in the digital age.  One revolutionary package of changes in patent law in the EU, which we have been following closely, is the imminent launch of the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court.  We will be addressing these matters in more detail in an ongoing series of posts, the first of which is a brief overview.

A related issue, and one of keen importance to technology companies engaged in R&D work, is trade secrets protection.  In that respect, the Trade Secrets Directive aims to harmonise civil law protection and remedies across Member States and in doing so promote SMEs and cross-border research.  See our posts on the compromise draft and of its approval by the European Parliament in the face of opposition by organisations of investigative journalists and the Pirate Party.

For more technology news every week including insights on IP and trade secrets, keep an eye on the White & Black technology law blog, the @wablegal Twitter feed and our LinkedIn page.

Disclaimer: This article is produced for and on behalf of White & Black Limited, which is a limited liability company registered in England and Wales with registered number 06436665. It is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. The contents of this article should be viewed as opinion and general guidance, and should not be treated as legal advice.

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