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Street Art: copyright law is on the street!

The development of street art in the last few decades has led to more elaborate forms of the early graffiti movement, including spray paintings, mosaics, and installations in public spaces by renowned artists like Banksy. From a legal perspective, this begs the question as to what rights do these works of art possess if they were created on a privately or publicly owned space (even illegally), and what limitations do artists have in seeking compensation if ever their works are altered from their original intention? The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) recently held a webinar presented by Spanish attorney Elisa Carrión Álvarez on May 28th about this topic, discussing the extent to which street art is protected under copyright law in the European Union and in common law countries like the United States and the United Kingdom.

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The “use” requirement in trademark revocation cases in China

The “use” requirement in trademark revocation cases in China based on non-use for three consecutive years

A trademark right is an intellectual property right that increases its value through actual use and the commercial benefits derived therefrom, meaning that its actual use by the trademark holder occurs out of a commercial need which therefore enhances and reflects the trademark’s value. For this purpose, Article 49 of the China Trademark Law and Article 66 of the Regulations for the Implementation of the Trademark Law provide that when a registered trademark has not been used for three consecutive years, the Trademark Office can revoke the trademark or order the trademark owner to correct its non-use. Read more

CETA: the dispute resolution system validated by the Court of Justice of the European Union

It was in autumn 2016 that the Walloon Region, through its Minister President Paul Magnette, vetoed the signing of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“CETA”) by the European Union.

CETA, a trade agreement between the European Union and Canada aimed at stimulating trade and supporting growth and employment, aims to reduce tariffs and protect high European standards such as food safety and the environment.

Despite its partial entry into force on 21 September 2017, the arbitration mechanism provided for in Chapter 29 was put on hold.

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Copyright dispute on uploading screenshots in China

Copyright Dispute on whether an act of uploading Posters, Snapshots and Screenshots of films on an information-sharing platform for comments and exchange among Internet users constitutes fair use regulated in Article 22 of Copyright law.

Douban is an information-sharing platform for Internet users to comment on and exchange about  films and TV series. “On this platform, under the heading of “Obstetrician” displayed information about posters, directors, script writers, and main actors, in addition to a list of short comments by series, summaries, pictures of the scenes, etc. In the album section, there are videos, posters, screenshots of the TV series uploaded by Internet users. Flowers Film contends that as copyright holder of the TV series it is entitled to the copyright of the series, the screenshots and posters, etc.” Read more

Inspiration or plagiarism? A warning to artists and to art dealers

Walking in Milan during the Art Week you probably come up against the Venice gate’s bastions wholly wrapped up with hundreds of hessian fabrics.
The mind will go to Christo who, since the later sixties, wrap up famous monuments around the world.
However, the author of the packing, in this case, is Ibrahim Mahama, a young artist from Ghana who has realised this installation site specific for the Nicola Trussardi Foundation.

The occasion is good to reflect on what it is protectable and on what it is plagiarism. Read more


In France a new bill has recently been introduced. Loi PACTE or Projet de loi de croissance et transformation des entreprises (Action Plan for Business Growth and Transformation) is a text composed of nearly 200 articles aimed at reforming several economic areas. The draft law was initiated by the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire and was introduced to the National Assembly on 19 June 2018.

Pursuant to article 45 of the French Constitution and parliamentary procedure, the latter was therefore examined by the National Assembly and the Senate. Following debates between the National Assembly and the Senate in accordance with parliamentary procedure, the bill was finally voted on and adopted by the National Assembly on April 11.

But what features will this law contain? Read more

New commitment for customs in protecting cultural heritage

Last March, the European Parliament finally approved the regulation designed to protect cultural goods against smuggling and to put a stop to a source of terrorist financing.

Before now, there were no universal EU laws governing imports of cultural heritage.

The only European legislation on the trade of cultural goods concerned exports and the return of objects unlawfully removed from the EU. Read more

The First Case of the Beijing Internet Court

On October 30th, 2018, the recent Beijing Internet Court heard its first case on copyright ownership and infringement, “Tik Tok Video” vs. “HuoPai Video”.

The case was filed on September 11th, 2018 by ByteDance, the parent company of Tik Tok, who initiated the lawsuit against the video platform HuoPai by Baidu Technologies. ByteDance contends that after a short video was shared on its “Tik Tok Video” platform, Baidu Technologies uploaded without permission and offered downloads of the video on its “HuoPai Video” platform. Tik Tok sought an injunction and damages of one million Yuan, plus an additional cost of fifty-thousand Yuan against Baidu. Read more

Russia: A New Future For Fashion?

As of June 26th 2019, the Russian Federation will begin to enforce a newly-adopted bill expanding its legal protections to industrial designs under the “amendments to Part IV of the Civil Code”, most notably for the fashion industry.

In an effort to emulate the European Union’s robust protections for fashion designers and brands, Russia has made strides to open its market and secure its own group of designers to build up a presence in the global fashion industry. Recently with Russia’s ratification of the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement, applicants have the option to seek design protection through the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs, instead of the traditional Russian national system of industrial design registration.

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“Copyright is for losers”…but it could be useful

Banksy went to Court and partially won.

 “Copyright is for losers” once wrote the secretive street artist ironically, however, a few weeks ago Pest Control (the company responsible for managing Banksy’s artworks) sued an Italian company for trademark infringement.

The Italian company 24 Ore Cultura organized an exhibition – The Art of Banksy. A visual protest – for Milan’s Mudec Museum, without having obtained any authorization from the artist, as disclaimed on the website.

The event opened in November 2018 and runs until April 2019.

The exhibition features 70 authentic Banksy prints and paintings, and its gift shop was selling a large variety of merchandise promoting Banksy imagery, including notebooks, postcards, bookmarks and diaries signed with the artist’s work.

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