News

Sonic Sea – a movie by the International Fund for Animal Welfare

SONIC SEA – International Fund for Animal Welfare
 
A new movie by our client IFAW – International Fund for Animal Welfare
 
“The oceans are not a silent world, but dynamic, living symphonies of sound. In water, sound travels five times faster, and many times farther than it does in air.
 
Whales, dolphins, porpoises, and other marine mammals have evolved to take advantage of this perfect sonic medium. Just as we rely on sight to survive, they depend on sound to hunt for food, find mates, and detect predators.
 
At any given time, there are up to sixty thousand commercial ships traversing our seas worldwide. Cavitation from propellers and the rumble of engines reverberate through every corner of the ocean.
 
The incessant and increasing cacophony masks whales’ ability to hear and be heard, hindering their ability to prosper and ultimately to survive.
 
Oceans are a sonic symphony. Sound is essential to the survival and prosperity of marine life.
But man-made ocean noise is threatening this fragile world.
 
Sonic Sea is about protecting life in our waters from the destructive effects of oceanic noise pollution.”
 

APPLE AND MICROSOFT ESTABLISH “PATENT TROLL”

Apple and Microsoft have teamed up with BlackBerry-producer RIM, electronics company Sony and network company Ericsson and founded a new patent company “Rockstar”. On behalf of these companies, Rockstar will pursue licensing agreements and collect license payments from other companies.

Rockstar announced yesterday that the US Department of Justice waiting period for review of Rockstar’s acquisition of a substantial majority of the former Nortel Networks patent portfolio, has expired and the company is free to consummate the acquisition.

The five technology companies acquired the more than 100-year-old Canadian telecom and networking company Nortel for $ 4.5 billion in the past summer, mainly because of the 6000 patents. The portfolio consists of patents that describe techniques for wireless communications, 4g, voice services, optical networking technologies, and more. Part of the patents allegedly relate to social networking and search techniques.

The director of the new company, John Veschi, makes immediately clear what the company will do. Other tech companies have to pay to use technology that Nortel has ever patented. “The entire industry has benefitted from Nortel’s groundbreaking innovations, and we are eager to work with them to establish licenses enabling the continued use of this technology.”

Rockstar will probably try to sue Google and Android manufacturers to pay. Apple, Microsoft and RIM are all competitors of Google’s Android on the smartphone market. The consortium has companies on board that make money by creating hardware for Android: Sony makes Android smartphones and with its joint venture ST-Ericsson, Ericsson provides processors for Android phones to Sony.

The term “patent troll” was used as early as 1993 to describe companies that buy and enforce patents against alleged infringers by filing aggressive and opportunistic patent lawsuits, often with no intention to further develop, manufacture or market the patented invention. Rockstar may very well fall into this suspicious category …

SIGNIFICANCE OF SOPA AND PIPA FOR EUROPE

Under SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act), US Congress sought to prevent internet users from accessing foreign sites with pirated content by having service providers block those sites’ domain names. The proposed legislation also threatened to punish any search engine providers, payment network providers and internet advertising services that continued to support those infringing sites.

Even though SOPA and PIPA are US bills, it is important to remember that the whole rationale of these new laws is tackling copyright infringement outside the US.

SOPA and PIPA’s primary supporters are organizations – the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Rupert Murdoch–owned News Corp. among them – that invest heavily in creating movies, television programs and other content that makes its way to the internet. The legislation’s most vocal opponents have included Google, Twitter, Yahoo and Wikipedia – web-based entities that benefit from this content.

In protest of the legislation, Wikipedia, Google, WordPress, Reddit and some 30.000 other websites participated in a 24-hour “Internet blackout” last week. The protests inspired voters to deluge their congressmen with phone calls and emails in protest of the bills as well, and several congressmen either came out in opposition to the bills or said Congress should take more time to reconsider them.

As a result of all the protests, the procedural vote on PIPA scheduled for 24 January has been postponed. In this vote, the Senate would decide whether or not to end debate on this bill and bring it forward for a final up-or-down vote. For a vote to be successful, three-fifths of the Senate (or 60 Senators) had to vote in the positive, and it seemed very unlikely that the vote on PIPA would have been successful. Also, the House Judiciary Committee has decided to postpone consideration of SOPA until there is wider agreement on a solution.

Since SOPA and PIPA are US bills, the focus has been on the US response to them, but its influence outside the US is intended to be enormous. A letter to the US Congress, written by a group of European Parliamentarians worried about the “extraterritorial effects” of SOPA and PIPA, offers a different perspective on the bills. For example, it leads with a reference to the EU-US Summit, held in Washington on 28 November 2011 – this is the letter by the European Parliamentarians dated 12 December 2011:

“We, Members of the European Parliament, civil society organizations and businesses would like to draw your attention to the extra territorial effects of current intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement acts being proposed in the US Congress. The two houses are expected to vote on the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT IP) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

The European Parliament, in its joint motion for a resolution on the EU-US Summit of 28 November 2011, objects the proposed legislation by stating:

“Stresses the need to protect the integrity of the global internet and freedom of communication by refraining from unilateral measures to revoke IP addresses or domain names;”

Several Members of Congress as well as the business and civil society community have spoken out against the proposed legislation. We would like to thank them for that and join their objections for the following reasons.

Even though the two proposed acts are different, their aim, scope and effect is more or less the same and we will treat them together in this letter.

We are concerned that SOPA and PROTECT IP will be detrimental to internet freedom, internet as a driver for economic growth and for fundamental rights, not only in the EU, but globally. The legitimate aim is to halt infringements of intellectual property rights online. However, since the internet is used for nearly every aspect of citizens’ lives, business activity or government regulation, the effects of these acts will lead to enormous collateral damage.

The acts suggest blocking of websites by court order or in the Domain Name System (DNS), a worldwide resource and essential component for the functionality of the internet. Not only the infringing part of a website would be blocked, but a whole domain would be made inaccessible, thereby violating the freedom of expression. Further, by blocking at the DNS level, these websites would be made inaccessible far beyond US jurisdiction, as the websites would be inaccessible world wide.

The definitions in the two acts in question are too vague to target only websites which enable infringement on a large scale. The acts jeopardize many positive activities and may overwrite laws on online services, safe harbour (or ‘intermediary liability’). Companies should not be held liable for what consumers use a service or product for. Is the owner of a street responsible for an accident on its pavement, or should be hold the individual responsible for speeding accountable?

By maintaining vague definitions in these far-reaching acts, companies are faced with an increased risk for liability. This will have an adverse effect on investment, as the risk for entrepreneurs increases beyond levels which stimulate innovation.

Companies wishing to offer online services will be forced to monitor all communication on their platforms and filter anything which could possibly be an infringement of IPR. The methods of monitoring would almost certainly challenge people’s fundamental rights. Considering the world wide character of the internet, European companies will be forced to adhere to US standards to prevent DNS blocking. Article 15 of the European E-Commerce Directive prohibits obligations for the general monitoring of their services. The European Court of Justice has recently ruled in the Scarlet/SABAM case that monitoring and filtering of communication online is a breach of fundamental rights such as privacy, freedom of communication and freedom of information and should not be applied to halt infringements of IPR.

Finally, blocking of websites, by DNS or otherwise, severely undermines America’s credibility in the global information society. Diplomatic efforts for a free and open internet will be rendered useless, since repressive regimes will be free to install filters or block websites which enable or facilitate information exchanges deemed illegal in their jurisdiction. We have already seen several examples of governments misusing filters aimed at halting IPR infringements. It would allow China to justify its Great Firewall, and Iran to legitimize its ´Halal internet´.

Concluding, SOPA and PROTECT IP will create tensions across the Atlantic in a time where we need to work more closely together. We ask you to vote against SOPA and PROTECT IP and to work with us on effective laws, which enable a fair remuneration of artists and creators online, without violating fundamental rights or fragmenting the free and open internet as we know it. We also believe in close cooperation in promoting internet freedom world wide, in line with our foreign policy objectives.”

So far, the letter to US Congress.

As of last week, SOPA and PIPA have been officially postponed indefinitely, but it is certain that Congress and the entertainment industry will bring these bills back to the table again. To be continued …

EXHIBIT HIGHLIGHTING PATENTS AND TRADEMARKS OF STEVE JOBS

In tribute to the tremendous influence of Steve Jobs, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has a showcase “The Patents and Trademarks of Steve Jobs: Art and Technology that Changed the World.”

“This exhibit commemorates the far-reaching impact of Steve Jobs’ entrepreneurship and innovation on our daily lives,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. “His patents and trademarks provide a striking example of the importance intellectual property plays in the global marketplace.”

Located on the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Virginia, in the atrium of the Madison Building, the exhibit features more than 300 of the patents that bear the name of the iconic innovator along with many of the trademarks that have given Apple its instantly recognizable identity around the world. The display gives insight into the visionary commitment Jobs gave to each of the products and designs he influenced during his time with Apple, the company he co-founded at the age of 21 with his friend and fellow computer enthusiast Steve Wozniak.

The exhibit was created and designed by Invent Now, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering invention and creativity through its many programs and which runs the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum also found on the USPTO campus in the Madison Building.

The Jobs exhibit, which was scheduled to run through January 15, 2012, has been extended to February 25, 2012.

HOE CORRUPT IS BUMA/STEMRA? [dutch only]

Bestuurder Jochem Gerrits toont zich omkoopbaar.

Pijnlijke uitzending van Pownews gisteravond. Tijdens een opgenomen telefoongesprek doetBuma/Stemra-bestuurder Jochem Gerrits een schaamteloos voorstel om een groot bedrag aan smeergeld te ontvangen. Gerrits is tevens directeur van muziekuitgever High Fashion Music.

Aanleiding voor de opname was een klacht van componist Melchior Rietveldt, die met een koffer vol dvd’s naar de studio van omroep Powned was gekomen. Hij componeerde een paar jaar geleden een tune die gebruikt wordt in een anti-piraterij-spotje dat op honderden dvd’s gebruikt wordt, maar ontving daarvoor nooit een cent auteursrecht.

Buitenspel

Toen zijn zaakwaarnemer Rob Storm daarop met draaiende camera per telefoon uitleg vroeg bij Buma-bestuurder Jochem Gerrits, zei deze de zaak wel even te kunnen regelen. Rietveldt zou zijn geld – volgens Storm zeker 1 miljoen euro – snel kunnen krijgen, maar onder één voorwaarde: Gerrits zou zelf een derde van de opbrengst in zijn zak steken via zijn eigen bedrijf. “Ik zet Buma gewoon buitenspel.”

Die bijzonder nonchalante blijk van omkoopbaarheid ontketende meteen een rel. Gerrits heeft vanochtend meteen zijn ‘tijdelijke’ aftreden bekend gemaakt.

De vraag die de uitzending opwerpt: hoe corrupt is Buma/Stemra als organisatie? Of is het alleen Gerrits? En is het een incident of deed hij vaker op deze manier zaken met artiesten? Mede-bestuurders Hans Kosterman en Henk Westbroek lieten zich in een interview met de Volkskrant eerder dit jaar al zeer negatief uit over de ondoorzichtige en onbegrijpelijke structuur van bestuur en toezicht bij de auteursrechtenorganisatie.

Eerder dit jaar trad directielid Cees van Rij al om onduidelijke redenen terug.

bron: Follow The Money

S[EDITION] ARTWORK MAY CONTAIN GRAPHIC IMAGES

We came across a very interesting new art website, www.seditionart.com, which offers limited edition contemporary art in digital format, for use only on displays such as mobile phones, tablets, computers and (internet) TVs.

The new website, called s[edition], launched last Thursday, and apparently by Friday morning, 18 people had already purchased the most expensive item – Damien Hirst’s For Heaven’s Sake. The piece, priced at £500, is a high definition video displaying one of the artist’s famous diamond-encrusted skulls.

Other famous names available on the service include conceptual artist Michael Craig-Martin, film-maker and photographer Wim Wenders and the US illustrator who created President Obama’s Hope poster, Shepard Fairey.

Each purchased item has its own Certificate of Authenticity, signed by the artist and s[edition]. The Certificate is proof of ownership, and contains your name, the date of purchase, the title of the work and the edition number. Purchasers store their copy of the artwork in an online “vault”, which is accessible from connected devices such as iPads and internet-enabled televisions. The comments on the website suggest that, once editions are sold out, you will be able to sell your works to other collectors through an internal s[edition] marketplace.

Works will be created in limited runs of between 2,000 and 10,000 and will cost between £5 and £500. Robert Norton, the co-founder of the s [edition] project, said it made “contemporary art accessible to a whole new world of collectors at prices most people can now afford”.

s[edition]’s website furthermore states:

We sell art by the world’s leading contemporary artists. Please note that some of this artwork may contain graphic images and very strong language. You should not view them unless you are 18 years of age or over, and open minded.

Of course we are open minded… this sounds like an exciting and promising new marketplace for art, but also a possible target for digital art pirates. It will be interesting to see if s[edition] is able to maintain their artists’ copyrights on the long run.

 

 

MOVIE DIRECTORS ANGRY ABOUT COMIC BOOK

Many Dutch directors, producers and screenwriters oppose the use of their movies in a comic book, a project initiated by Dutch Movie Institute EYE, the Movie Foundation and the BKVB Foundation (Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture).

Fifty cartoon artists will each summarize one movie on a page in comic format. The book will be entitled “Filmfanfare” (Movie Fanfare) and is a sequel to the project “Beautiful!”, in which 57 novels, poems and plays renowned in Dutch literature were put into a comics book format.

The latest movie title on the list, the “New Kids Turbo” comedy was released in 2010. The oldest film processed into a comic is “Carmen of the North” dates from 1919. There will also be Dutch classics in the book such as “Flodder”, “Character”, “Lift”, “Soldier of Orange”, “The Assault” and “Turkish Delight”.

Dick Maas, director of “Flodder” and “Lift”, announces that he was upset that he did not know about the plans for Filmfanfare. “I own the format rights to all of my movies,” Dick Maas explains. “This is a commercial book that will be selling many copies. Strange that all these organizations assume that they can do anything with my material without my permission.”

The same goes for director and screenwriter Alex van Warmerdam, director of “Abel”. ”I think it is so silly and indecent, to say the least, and that nobody at the Film Institute EYE, the Film Foundation or the BKVB thought of approaching the moviemakers to ask for permission. If you make a movie based on a book, the first step is to ask the author for permission!”

Producer Rob Houwer, whose films “Soldier of Orange”, “Turkish Delight” and “The Fourth Man” have been selected for Filmfanfare, says he had “fallen off his chair” when he read about the cartoon project in the in the newspaper. ”It’s not that I do not like the idea”, explains Houwer. ”But if I am not consulted beforehand, I can not give my permission.”

The moviemakers are waiting for a response from the makers of Filmfanfare before they decide whether they will take further legal action against the project.

Spokesman Gert Jan Pos of BKVB recognizes that he underestimated the reactions caused by the project. “It is intended as an homage to the most important Dutch movies in history, and especially not intended as copyright infringement.” Pos will explain the situation to the directors and producers in writing.

Let’s hope Mr. Pos has hired a good copywriter/copyrighter to convince the moviemakers – Filmfanfare is supposed to appear in early 2012.

 

TIMES ARE A-CHANGIN’: BAD ARTISTS IMITATE, GREAT ARTISTS STEAL

The exhibition of paintings by Bob Dylan hosted by the Gagosian Gallery in New York since 20 September 2011 called “The Asia Series”, was announced as follows:

“Dylan’s drawings and paintings are marked by the same constant drive for renewal that characterizes his legendary music. He often draws and paints while on tour, and his motifs bear corresponding impressions of different environments and people. A keen observer, Dylan is inspired by everyday phenomena in such a way that they appear fresh, new, and mysterious.

The Asia Series, a visual reflection on his travels in Japan, China, Vietnam, and Korea, comprises people, street scenes, architecture, and landscapes, which can be clearly identified by title and specific cultural details …”

Since its opening, many – including “Dylanologists” – have raised serious questions about whether some of these paintings are based on Mr. Dylan’s own observations, or on photographs from others. To us it is obvious that Mr. Dylan has taken the shots from photographers Léon Busy, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Dmitri Kessel, and copied them exactly.

A press representative for the Gagosian Gallery said in a statement: “While the composition of some of Bob Dylan’s paintings is based on a variety of sources, including archival, historic images, the paintings’ vibrancy and freshness come from the colors and textures found in everyday scenes he observed during his travels.”

The gallery also pointed to an interview with Mr. Dylan in its exhibition catalog, in which he is asked whether he paints from sketches or photographs. He responds:

“I paint mostly from real life. It has to start with that. Real people, real street scenes, behind the curtain scenes, live models, paintings, photographs, staged setups, architecture, grids, graphic design. Whatever it takes to make it work. What I’m trying to bring out in complex scenes, landscapes, or personality clashes, I do it in a lot of different ways. I have the cause and effect in mind from the beginning to the end. But it has to start with something tangible.”

A representative for Mr. Dylan declined to comment on the Gagosian exhibition. As the New York Times points out, it is not the first time that Mr. Dylan has been accused of “borrowing” as his use of the writings of others in his lyrics has been noted in the past. In 2006 it was shown that lyrics on Mr. Dylan’s No. 1 album “Modern Times” bore a strong resemblance to the poems of Henry Timrod, who composed verses about the Civil War and died in 1867. Lyrics from a previous album, “Love and Theft,” were similar to passages from the gangster novel “Confessions of a Yakuza,” by the Japanese writer Junichi Saga.

Paintings, lyrics, and a spitting image of Vincent…is this what they call “Pop Art”?

The Practitioner’s Manual for Trademark Prosecution and Litigation in the EU

Recently, September 2011, a standard work on trademark prosecution and litigation in the European Union countries was published by Sweet & Maxwell; “The Practitioner’s Manual for Trademark Prosecution and Litigation in the EU” covers practical knowhow on trademark prosecution and enforcement in the European Union and its most important countries.

The section on The Netherlands was contributed by our experienced colleague David Krantz. It goes without saying that we strongly recommend this book for all international trademark practitioners.

 

Battle of the bottles: Coke versus Pepsi

The Coca-Cola Company has gone to court in Australia because of the new curved bottle marketed by their global rival PepsiCo, Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported last Sunday.

Though the action was launched in the Federal Court earlier this month, both parties have kept quiet about this legal bottle-battle that could have implications around the world. It is also unclear why the complaint by Coca-Cola has been filed in Australia, and not in the United States.

Coca-Cola claims that their classic bottle has existed since 1916 and that the unique shape of the Coca-Cola bottle serves as an identifying feature. The coke silhouette — bulging at both ends and narrow in the middle — has lended itself to anything from car bodies to transistor radios. In the 1960s the coke-bottle allegedly inspired cars such as America’s Dodge Charger, Germany’s Opel Commodore and Britain’s Vauxhall Visa.

The court papers show Coca-Cola’s claims that the Pepsi bottle is “substantially identical with or deceptively similar to” its trademarked contour bottle. Coca-Cola contends that the Pepsi bottles with the slim waist are a copy of the classic Coke bottles with their curvy contours.

Coca-Cola, which has 70 percent of Australia’s soft drink market, accuses PepsiCo of having copied the bottles since 2007, and possibly claims millions of dollars in damages for “deceptive conduct and passing off.” Coca-Cola is asking Justice Julie Dodds-Streeton to uphold its claim to the distinctive contour shape and punish PepsiCo for infringing on its intellectual property.

Pepsi has announced that it has been selling the contested bottles in Australia since 2007, but denied that the Coca Cola’s rights have been violated.

Bottle battle to be continued…