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toy yoda

Disney brings Christmas Cheer

Readers of my blog will know that one of my pet subjects is the extent to which big business responds to infringements. Often I have called out what I see as a disproportionate response to possible infringement by a small company who may have acted innocently. At times action has been taken by big business against a small company who are not infringing but who big business wants to scare off the outer perimeters of…
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Electioneering and copyright infringement

In the olden days parties campaigned by knocking on doors, holding rallies and sending endless bits of paper to voters. But, what this latest election has shown us, apart from the fact that people seem pretty keen to get Brexit done, is that social media is the new median to reach voters. Whilst this may seem fine in theory, and certainly friendlier to the planet, it does have some problems. Most notably the ease by…
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dark horse

Katy Perry’s Dark Horse loses the race

You may recall a few months ago we wrote about the copyright infringement case brought against Katy Perry by Christian hip hop artist Marcus Gray or Flame as he is known (don’t worry, we haven’t heard of him either) and two others over her song Dark Horse. The plaintiffs claimed that Perry and the other producers and songwriters who worked on the song copied the beat from Flame’s song Joyful Noise. The defendants argued that…
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people at music gig

Oh Maggie I couldn’t have cried any more

When a district judge says to the parties something along the lines of ‘This is a modest claim. It has tears all over it. We cannot make people mediate but I repeat the encouragement and request’, the parties should take note. This was the message delivered by District Judge Hodge. The case in question is a claim for copyright infringement in a photograph which Rod Stewart is alleged to have used alongside hundreds of other…
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Chris Barbalis' artwork

Street Art: the dispute that nearly lost artists their rights

Recently H&M launched an advertising campaign which displayed the work of street artist Jason ‘Revok’ Williams in the background. Revok sent a cease and desist letter claiming copyright infringement, as it was an “unauthorised use of his original artwork”. He did not want people to assume an affiliation between him and the high street brand. H&M responded by taking legal action of its own. It filed a lawsuit, hoping the court would declare that there was…
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Blurred lines

Blurring the lines between inspiration, imitation and infringement of copyright

Earlier this month, a US appeals court upheld an earlier finding by a trial court in the US that Robin Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines” infringed on the copyright in Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” Gaye died in 1984, but his family argued that “Got to Give it Up” was copied by Thicke making “Blurred Lines” one of the most commercially successful songs of 2013. Thicke (and Pharrell Williams, who helped to write and…
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Artist sues Kendrick Lamar & SZA for Copyright Infringement

An independent artist, by the name of Lina Iris Viktor, recently claimed that Kendrick Lamar copied her gold patterned paintings in the ‘All The Stars’ video made for the film Black Panther. She decided to file a lawsuit against Lamar, SZA, Universal Music Group and others involved in the video’s production claiming that her work had been featured without her permission. The artist claims to have been contacted by the film’s representatives on multiple occasions…
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phone with yellow and white logo

The Rise of the Geo-tag Vandals. Could this be a new sub-category of copyright infringement?

On 3rd October, Snapchat launched its collaboration project “Art All Around You”, an art initiative aimed at raising the profile of well-known and lesser known artists with the world by geo-tagging images of iconic works of art across the augmented reality landscape; one example was Jeff Koons’ balloon dog in Central Park, NYC.  Some lauded the opportunity for freelance creatives to: 1) widen their appeal and reach, particularly to younger generations (the main demographic of…
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