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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Brief Trademark Ponders

A few interesting links related to Trademarks (not to be confused with copyright, but people do, and so do I). For example, the Open Rights Group (of which, last time I looked, I was Patron, but I don't have to do anything except be on the letterhead and possibly make the cucumber sandwiches) posted http://www.openrightsgroup.org/2008/05/08/bbc-removes-doctor-who-fans-knitting-patterns-from-the-web/ -- the story of a fan who was told by the BBC to take down the Dr Who knitting patterns from her website. Interestingly, the Head of Communications at the BBC left a message on the ORG blog, and amplified it on the BBC news site, pointing out that their problem was not with the creator but with the people who were taking her designs, making the toys, and selling them on eBay.

One commenter said, My own opinion is that the BBC would be correct to target Ebay sellers and anyone attempting to make a profit from their intellectual property, as is their right. Unfortunately rather than do this actively, they have chosen the easy option of attacking a person whose only ‘crime’ is she has the imagination and flare to design knitted patterns and make them available not for profit, based on Dr Who characters...

Which was the last thing I read before reading this Boing-Boing article, this Beat coverage, and this follow-up blog posting from the person who was running the ebay auction: Warner Brothers lawyers closed down a children's cancer charity eBay auction because it was selling original Superman drawings...

And mostly, I'm just glad that I'm not a corporate trademark lawyer.

(Also, I think -- and have thought for about 17 years, ever since the Comic Relief Comic problems -- that Warner Corporate needs to change its policies with regards to DC Comics and charities and allow DC Comics as much latitude as, say, Marvel. But it hasn't happened yet.)

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