Media Briefs

A fourth law of robotics? Copyright and the law and ethics of machine co-production.
We are facing an industrial revolution unlike any other before. For the first time, machines are not just replacing manual labour, they are taking on jobs that require knowledge, intelligence and even creativity. In such a world, “training up” to find new, better quality jobs might not always be an option. This makes control over who can legally copy our skills, knowledge and ideas ever more important. If you can’t dance, can’t talk, and the only way about you is the way you walk, should the law…More

Evidence shows that EU copyright policy restricts data mining by academic researchers
Digital text and data mining opens many new research opportunities. Copyright and database legislation in the EU endows rights holders with greater control over follow-up research than in most other territories. According to a paper presented at the European Policy for Intellectual Property (EPIP 2015) conference in Glasgow…More

Stealing Artworks from the Public Domain
When a work’s copyright expires and the piece transfers into the public domain, it means the general public should have unqualified access to reuse the work and create derivative works. But what happens when that work is a unique piece of art or cultural property valued at millions of dollars? And how is access made possible when a cultural institution holds the piece in its collections or vaults?…More

Standard-essential Patents Key Asset to Shape Global High-tech Production
Thanks to global high-tech telecommunication standards such as GSM, UMTS, or LTE, we can use our mobile phones anywhere in the world without having to switch devices. The same interoperability is true for standardized file formats like MP3 and JPEG, and in many other technological areas. Some technologies that are used to enable these standards are protected by patents – so-called standard-essential patents…More

‘Where there’s passion, there’s profit’: Media rights and sports
As the UEFA Champions League kicks into full swing for 2015/16, live coverage in the UK can only be found on BT. Having paid £897m for exclusive live UK coverage for 3 years it is just another reminder of the value of football rights to media companies. UEFA, the governing body of European football secures 80% of its…More

Australia’s Regions and Agriculture: Can Geographical Indications Help?
Walk into any supermarket in Australia and you will very likely find King Island cheese on the shelves. Most Australians have only a vague idea about the location of King Island, but many are prepared to pay the extra price for the cheeses it produces. King Island promotes itself as a special place….More

Is geo-blocking the real reason why Europe’s digital content markets are territorially fragmented?
Why should a European consumer still be forced to buy a product or subscribe to a service just in the EU country where his or her bank account is based, while being unable to purchase the same thing (e.g., an Apple iTunes’s music album or movie or a subscription to Netflix or Spotify) from another EU country? Research presented at the European Policy for Intellectual Property (EPIP 2015)…More

Synthetic Biology: Access, Benefit Sharing, and Economic Development
According to Shakespeare’s Juliet, “what we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”1 But would a rose containing synthetic scent compound genes, virtually identical to those in natural roses, smell as sweet? Can a synthetic product ever be natural? These questions and more are addressed in a…More

A two-tiered or a single-tiered patent system?
New research, presented at the European Policy for Intellectual Property (EPIP 2015) conference in Glasgow, organized by CREATe (Research Councils UK Copyright Centre), shows that it makes not much difference to the amount of patenting activity, with implications for IP policy….More

What determines the plaintiff’s court selection in patent litigation?
Patent infringement disputes frequently fulfil territorial jurisdiction requirements at multiple courts, giving the patent holding plaintiff the option to freely select the court of his choice to seek remedies. While these so-called forum shopping activities are frequently observed, the factors influencing court selection have remained largely unexplored. New academic research, presented at the European Policy…More

Copyright and business models in music publishing – does history repeat itself?
The economic history of music publishing throws up some interesting issues that resonate for the present crisis in copyright in other creative industries. In the 1900s, music publishing was hit by major technological changes that forced it to alter its revenue model as well as its contracts with composers and songwriters as consumers adopted new ways of listening to music. Sound familiar? In a paper presented…More

Patents can block exports
There is considerable evidence that holding a patent in a foreign country can help a firm export to that country. But new evidence from Swinburne University and University of Melbourne, presented at the European Policy for Intellectual Property (EPIP 2015) conference in Glasgow, organized by CREATe (Research Councils UK Copyright Centre), has found that patents can also block would-be exporters…More

Would EU Digital Single Market Offer a Brighter Future for Music Industry?
Since the launch of the iTunes Music Store in the USA in 2003 and in much of Europe in the following years, music trade has shifted rapidly from physical to digital products, raising the availability of products in different countries. Despite this substantial growth, the available choice of digital music has not fully converged across countries. The territorial fragmentation of the EU copyright regime is often perceived as an obstacle to greater availability for consumers…More

Public Domain Images Worth Millions for Wikipedia
When the copyright in a work expires, or when a work is offered under an open licence, anybody may use it. While the concept of the public domain is something that most people understand, its role in spurring new innovation and creativity remains under-explored. New academic research, presented at the European Policy for Intellectual Property (EPIP 2015) conference in Glasgow…More

Corruption is Particularly Harmful to Small Firm Innovation
Firms invest in innovation if they expect future market benefits from those investments. Patents and quality certifications are common means for firms to claim such gains. However, in order to obtain quality certifications and patents, firms have to apply to accredited national institutions. If national officials ask for bribes in exchange for dealing favorably with these applications, then bribes raise the costs of engaging in innovation and possibly discouraging firms from investing in R&D…More

When do firms engage in strategic patenting?
In the knowledge economy, developing an effective patent strategy is crucial for firms whose competitive advantage draws on intangible assets like intellectual property (IP). The traditional rationale for patents is to provide an incentive to innovate by protecting innovators from imitation. However, patents provide imperfect protection compared to other protection mechanisms like secrecy; the explosion of patent applications then points to other reasons for patenting. In new research presented at the European Policy for Intellectual Property (EPIP 2015)…More

Are More Patents a Good Thing?
The past two decades have seen an enormous increase in patent filings worldwide. This might suggest that there has been a big increase in innovation and that patent systems are helping firms to bring increasing numbers of innovative products to market. Casual observation would suggest that in certain technology sectors, such as digital communication devices or the internet, the pace of progress is indeed high. New research presented the European Policy for Intellectual Property (EPIP 2015)…More

The Eureka Myth: Creators, Innovators and Everyday Intellectual Property
Property-like exclusivity, such as copyrights and patents, are said to incentivize creative and innovative work. Without IP, prospective writers or inventors (or their employers) could not control the dissemination of their work. Anti-copying protection facilitates the recuperation of the investment of time and money so they can continue to produce and distribute more work…More

The Market Valuation of Innovation in Weak Innovation Regimes
In a milieu where most firms do not obtain product patents, few firms obtain process patents, petty patents are not an option, and R&D activity is generally modest, the concern is whether R&D-related innovation would be visible to agents and potential investors in the stock market. Research presented by Professor Sunil Kanwar and Professor Bronwyn Hall at the European Policy for Intellectual Property (EPIP 2015) conference in Glasgow, organized by CREATe (Research Councils UK Copyright Centre), found interestingly that this is indeed so…More

Who gets the credit for scientific discoveries? Seniority and gender are significant
Scientists are not lonely geniuses. They work in teams, and teams sometimes team up together for bigger projects, as when big data or facilities need to be shared. And yet it is not teams, but individuals who build their careers based on the reputation they get from the papers they publish or the patents they file (which can bring in handsome money, too)…More

Should physical artefacts remain in the Public Domain in the digital world?
Digitisation of cultural heritage is one of the greatest challenges of our time, while promising to bring a wealth of information and knowledge to everyone. From a legal point of view, however, it is not always clear whether acts of digitisation create additional forms of protection, such as through copyright or similar rights. This is a particularly…More

No easy way for photographers to enforce copyright in Scotland as it is in England and Wales
In the fast moving digital world, where photographs and editing software are available at the click of a button, how can professional photographers still make a living? While small creative businesses are often aware of their copyright and associated intellectual property rights, the prohibitive cost and complexity of court action means many struggle to prevent unauthorised use…More