Welcome to 2019!

January 4, 2019, By

Well here we are, we made it to 2019 and looking forward to perhaps one of the most challenging years we have had for a while as we set sail through the choppy waters of an unfolding Brexit. We are ready and waiting and will be bringing you the news and views from the world of intellectual property and business as they happen.

The government has wasted no time in providing us with things to talk about. Did you hear the one about how it hired a start-up company, Seaborne Freight to operate extra ferry services as part of a no-deal Brexit but that company turned out to have no ships? Now it transpires that their terms and conditions were copy and pasted from that of a take away food business with terms that included mitigation against the impact of prank food orders. They should have asked Briffa to get them sorted and avoid the embarrassment! One also has to wonder about what sort of due diligence goes into government procurement decisions. According to our transport secretary Chris Grayling, “Before any contract was signed, due diligence on Seaborne Freight was carried out both by senior officials at the Department for Transport, and highly reputable independent third-party organisations with significant experience and expertise into Seaborne’s financial, technical and legal underpinning.” Anyone else getting increasingly nervous about the whole machinery of government?

All these worries aside, this year we will be on the lookout for a few things. We may see how the GDPR landscape which came into force in May last year is being enforced by the authorities. Across the pond, the tech giants will I am sure ramp up their opposition to the new proposed copyright legislation from the EU which will make them responsible for policing their sites for copyright infringements and take action. We anticipate also that Artificial Intelligence will become more of an issue to be grappled with as it impacts on both the creation and ownership of intellectual property.

Oh, and we are quite likely to hear a fair bit about Mickey Mouse whose character falls out of copyright in 2019. Disney is battling to get copyright extended to avoid this happening and with retrospective effect – but will they succeed? Ordinarily one would guess no. Enough of this rodent Disney are surely taking the Mickey. But we live in stranger than strange times. Walt Disney said “Laughter is timeless. Imagination has no age. And dreams are forever.” I say the comic value of this mouse is wearing thin, imagination is a thought but not a deed and copyright should not and does not last forever. Watch this space.

Written by Margaret Briffa

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