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Happy World Intellectual Property Day


Terpsichore
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Today is World Intellectual Property Day. It celebrates the coming into force of the Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization, the UN specialist agency for intellectual property.

 

"What's IP got to do with ballet?" I hear you say. Well quite a lot actually because intellectual property is the collective term for the bundle of rights that protect investment in branding, design, technology and creative works.   Copyright protects the outline of the plot, the score, the notation of the dancers' movements, the backcloths, the programme notes and photographs from unauthorized copying. Rights in performances protect dancers, musicians and other performers from unauthorized filming, taping and broadcasting of their work. Trade marks protect the corporate name and logo of the company.  Unregistered design rights protect the costume designs from copying and so on.

 

It also provides the  basis upon which clothing, DVDs, publications and other merchandise can be licensed and that in turn provides income for companies, theatres and increasingly individual dancers. Carlos Acosta and Darcey Bussell have been particularly adept at creating business opportunities for themselves in this way.

 

One of our most important copyright cases was Massine v De Basil [1936–45] Macg Cop Cas 223, an attempt by the choreographer to prevent an  impresario from staging a ballet that he had created.  It is a case that is still cited frequently today.

 

Every year a different theme is chosen for the annual celebrations.  This year it is "Movies - a Global Passion".  That again is relevant to us since we can now see live streaming of ballets and other performances from London and all over the world in cinemas in the remotest corners of the kingdom. Film is also a way of recording ballet.  It is the only way we can experience the great dancers of the past - Pavlova, Nijinsky, KarsavinaMartha Graham, Markova, Tallchief and Fonteyn and Nureyev.

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One of the more pernicious effects of the Internet is the way people seem to think that information available online is free for the taking. I used to be an administrator of a large forum where the members loved posting copyrighted photos of celebrities, and they didn't want to hear about how that was a copyright infringement. People hear some of the Silicon Valley gurus going on about "information wants to be free" and they seem to think that means everything is up for grabs. I don't know how they think photographers and journalists are supposed to make a living.

 

Then again, I'm sure a lot of people are very happy to be able to watch full-length ballets, operas, and documentaries available on YouTube even though many of them are copyright violations.

Edited by Melody
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People hear some of the Silicon Valley gurus going on about "information wants to be free" and they seem to think that means everything is up for grabs. 

 

They wouldn't be quite so thrilled if their lucrative copyrighted software programs found their way to freedom online!

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I  believe they can *patent* them in the US - am I right, Terpsichore?  But then the US is a law unto itself, and also allows you to patent business methods and other weird things ...

 

Why on earth are they holding it today?  WIPO won't even be open on a Saturday, surely?

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I  believe they can *patent* them in the US - am I right, Terpsichore?  But then the US is a law unto itself, and also allows you to patent business methods and other weird things ...

 

Why on earth are they holding it today?  WIPO won't even be open on a Saturday, surely?

 

One can patent a software implemented invention here so long as all the conditions for patentability are met and it provides a technical solution that does not consist entirely of excluded matter. For example, a computer operated machine tool cam be patented.

 

The 26 April is celebrated because it is the anniversary of the foundation of the WIPO. When the day falls on a weekend or holiday many of the events around the world are held  on other days. For instance, the main UK event at which Lord Younger is to speak will take place on Monday.

 

I actually got an electronic world IP day card from one of my instructing solicitors yesterday and several people tweeted me happy World IP day. Indeed I did the same.

 

I think it is worth celebrating because IP is the glue that holds investment in branding, design, technology and works of art and literature. It is in fact a celebration of all the good things that scientists, technologists and artists have brought us this year such as ballet.

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