Intellectual property

The internet as a commons

Since the beginning of the “information revolution” there has built up a tension between the rights of the owners of information and other intellectual property and the practical ability and desire of others to exploit that property using the developing technologies. This tension heightened considerably with the popularisation of the internet and the web as […]

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Regulating deepfakes using performers’ rights

On Christmas day, two speeches by the Queen aired on UK television. But only one was real. The real speech was delivered by the monarch herself and aired on the BBC, as is customary. The second was a parody performed by a “deepfake” of the Queen, and broadcast by Channel 4. Hundreds of viewers are […]

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Divergence from EU: Copyright Directive

The government recently indicated a willingness to diverge from EU regulations post-Brexit. Perhaps one of the more significant moves in this direction is the announcement by Universities and Science Minister Chris Skidmore that the UK will not implement the controversial EU Copyright Directive. The main criticism levelled at the directive was down to Article 17* […]

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Who owns an AI-generated invention?

One wet Sunday afternoon I was playing with an interface to OpenAI’s machine learning model, GPT-2, which was trained to predict the next word in a sentence and which can now generate articles of synthetic text based on a sentence provided to it. I typed, “Can AI own the copyright in the work that it […]

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The new EU copyright directive: backing creatives

The new EU copyright law that copyright lawyers, artists, management and media companies have been waiting for was passed on 17 April 2019 as Directive (EU) 2019/790 on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market and amending Directives 96/9/EC and 2001/29/EC. The directive is not law as is (although some of its provisions […]

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Digital copyright: new challenges and opportunities

Copyright law is being challenged by disruptive technologies such as AI and blockchain, themes addressed in the recently published 5th edition of the author’s book Digital Copyright, on which this article is based. Artificial intelligence and virtual reality The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) are starting to pose significant challenges to […]

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Why intellectual property matters to your practice

In the previous issue of the Newsletter, Jordan Furlong highlighted how artificial intelligence and expert systems are being deployed in law firms, and will transform the legal industry. One implication of this is that law firms will be “marketing themselves as enterprises whose value and identities are independent of their lawyers”. If you’re minded to […]

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Brexit, copyright and liminality

I’ve always liked the word “liminality” – a threshold that marks the boundary between two phases. If nothing else, Brexit presents an opportunity for its appropriate use. The UK’s current state, where we are still in the EU but apparently heading somewhere else, does feel liminal, with its quality (to quote Wikipedia) of ambiguity or disorientation. You can sense […]

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The intellectual property revolution

Despite the UK Government commissioning the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth in 2010 to ensure the UK has an IP framework best suited to supporting innovation and promoting economic growth in the digital age, there is still a marked lack of awareness in the business community about intellectual property and what it means. […]

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Take care when users post on your website

One of the decisions that website owners often need to make these days is whether to allow people to add comments or other content to their website. Of itself, this isn’t a legal issue, but a decision to allow comments or other user content on a website does give rise to legal considerations. These considerations […]

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Bidding on competitors’ trade marks in AdWords

Should you bid on a competitor’s trade mark in AdWords? This is a simple question, but not one that has a simple answer. The High Court ruled in 2013 that you should not, as doing so would amount to a trade mark infringement. The case before the court involved Marks & Spencer and Interflora. M&S […]

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Copyright in website images

As simple as it is to find images online, one could be forgiven for thinking it is just as easy to know which images may be used. Unfortunately, the complexities of copyright law and the limited awareness of its rules can make the process of finding and using images a potential minefield for businesses. No […]

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