A copyright work in 140 characters? (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 1)
27 September 2015
It isn’t easy to keep your social media followers entertained with rafts of enthralling and hilarious new material.
However, if you’re in the business of writing comedy, your original work is the most precious thing you own. San Diego blogger Robert Kaseberg sued comedian Conan O’Brien for copyright infringement after several of Kaseberg’s tweets were slightly modified and repeated by O’Brien on his TV show.
Twitter has recently begun a more regimented process of removing tweets reproducing the ‘original’ work of others. Twitter has long had a raft of policies in place governing the removal of content which infringes IP rights. While under its copyright / DMCA takedown procedure this has traditionally covered images and video content, it seems that the site has begun to take more proactive steps to prevent the unlawful reproduction and publication of tweets.
There is little doubt that an original tweet (like a joke) which is the result of the author’s intellectual creation can qualify for copyright protection in the EU. Therefore a third party will require the consent of the author in order to reproduce it. Things are a bit more complicated in the US - although Twitter will probably be keen to adopt a uniform policy rather than having to carve up the way it reacts to these situations.
Simply ‘cutting and pasting’ an original tweet like a joke and claiming it as your own has to be an infringement whichever way you look at it. That’s why Twitter’s approach is perfectly understandable and why Kaseberg has launched legal proceedings.
Where a tweet does not meet the requirements for copyright subsistence, or where there is some doubt as to whether the copying is sufficiently substantial to infringe, there may be more doubt. Either way, normal and established principles of subsistence and infringement will apply. Tweets are no ‘special case’.This article was first published in the Brands & IP newsnotes publication - issue 1.
EU trade mark reforms come closer (Brands & IP newsnotes - issue 1)27 September 2015
Seven years after the European Commission started its evaluation of the European trade marks framework, the texts of the new proposed legislation were finally published in June 2015.
It never rains, but it pours…(Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 1)27 September 2015
Registered designs are used to protect the appearance of products. In considering whether to allow registration, several factors come into play: what else is already out there (the ‘prior art’); who will use it (the ‘informed user’); and what ‘degree of freedom’ does the designer have in arriving at the particular design?
You’re cabbing a laugh (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 1)27 September 2015
The High Court has refused an application by the manufacturer of the iconic London black cab (“LTC”) for permission to adduce survey evidence in a claim for passing off.
What’s New Copycat? (Brands & IP newsnotes - issue 1)27 September 2015
Last year, consumer group Which? carried out a comprehensive survey of the copycat product packaging market in the UK. It found that over 150 of retailers’ own-label products “mimicked” the market-leading brand-owner’s packaging.
Not so-far, Sofa Workshop (Brands & IP newsnotes - issue 3)27 September 2015
If a trade mark proprietor does not make ‘genuine use’ of its marks, they may be vulnerable to attack from third parties.
When “logos” turn into “no-goes” (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 1)27 September 2015
As we move even deeper into an age of digital advertising and social media, it is becoming increasingly important for businesses to have a short hand for their brand; something which denotes the business, stands out as a guarantee of origin and makes the brand instantly recognisable. We’re talking about logos.
Access to justice: IPEC 1 - MoJ 0 (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 1)27 September 2015
Conducting litigation in a cost effective and proportionate manner can be a challenge, especially if it involves big brand owners going toe to toe. But help is at hand in the form of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (‘IPEC’).