IP news

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Good morning everyone. February is finally here! Spring is getting closer. Hope you all had a good weekend. Now, grab your cup and let’s get into today’s news.

According to the Spanish Supreme Court, the BOE is responsible for the publication of copyright-infringing materials.

Alfonso de Ceballos-Escalera y Gila and Félix Martinez Llorente appear as the authors of a book called “The Supreme Court of the Kingdom of Spain. Historical and institutional study.” The problem? They used copyright-protected literature that did not belong to them and without authorisation of the real authors: Maria Luisa Roman and Matilde Chamorro (8 out of 9 chapters were actually copied…) So… Who is responsible for copyright infringement? According to the Spanish Supreme Court, it is the Agency in charge of the Official State Gazette (BOE), as they are the one who designed the project, coordinated it, printed the book and published it. The Supreme Court considers that it cannot be held liable, as the only link that they had is a collaboration agreement with the authority.

The Supreme Court is not liable, the Spanish Official Gazette understands that they are not liable either. Take into account that 88% of the book’s content has been copied. Can public institutions be held liable for copyright infringement, and if yes, who is liable?

A hand sanitizing slime

We remember when slime was identified as “Flubber”, do you? Anyway, during this pandemic, a lot of people have been inspired to create new products. How can you make sure that your kids sanitise their hands? Well, the Spanish toy-maker Canal Toys España, a subsidiary of a major French toy distributor, created the “antibacterial slime”. The more you play with it, the cleaner the hands!

How does this relate to IP? The antibacterial slime might actually end up being patent-protected if the application filed is successful.  According to the claims, the product can eliminate up to 99,9% of bacteria, it is non-toxic, does not contain alcohol and, when preserved properly, can last up to 1 month.

Japan and cosplayers

If you haven’t heard of cosplay, it refers to people who dress up as their favourite fictional characters (manga, anime, videogames, superhero...). Not in a funny way, no. Cosplayers take their disguise very seriously. I mean…

Right now anyone in Japan can dress as their favourite characters. Could this change? Yes, since the Japanese Government is now considering an amendment to the Japanese Copyright Law that would oblige “professional” cosplayers to pay the original creator if they want to dress up as one of their characters. Don’t laugh: in Japan, professional cosplayer Enako earns more than 90,000 euros a month with public appearances, merchandising, photo albums, meet and greet… But the original author that created the character was not entitled to receive anything. Apparently, cosplaying pro bono would not amount to copyright infringement, hence, if you go to a convention and you dress up as Sailor Moon, you should be ok. However, uploading a photo of your cosplay to your Instagram account might be problematic if the changes are finally implemented. We will definitely keep an eye on it! What do you think? Should authors be entitled to some kind of royalty or payment when professional cosplayers use their character? Should cosplayer ask for authorisation?  

This is all for this week. Have a nice day!