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Edinburgh Fringe, Fast & Furious 6, Irish referendum, IP Week – this week’s round-up

Despite the holiday season in much of the world, IP activity doesn’t stop. Here are five items of news this week, covering parodies, piracy, the UPC and developments with our editorial team

Tributes, parody and copyright

The Guardian newspaper reports from the Edinburgh Fringe theatre festival in Scotland on the trend for tribute and parody acts, with shows inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Quantum Leap, Breaking Bad, Star Wars (right), Lord of The Rings and Fawlty Towers.

The article addresses the copyright issues raised, and notes that some of the performers have agreed licences with film producers.

However, a new parody exception to copyright is coming into force in the UK on October 1, which will provide a defence where the use is “fair and proportionate”. It will be interesting to see how that applies to situations such as those described in the article.

Not so fast

Cinemagoer Philip Danks has been jailed for 33 months after he filmed the movie Fast And Furious 6 in a cinema in Walsall, UK and uploaded it online, according to the BBC. It was subsequently downloaded 700,000 times. An accomplice was sentenced by the judge to do 120 hours of unpaid work.

The Federation Against Copyright Theft, which brought the case along with West Midlands Police, said the losses to Universal Pictures amounted to “millions of pounds”. This figure can only be based on the assumption that all or most of the people who downloaded it would otherwise have paid to watch the film in the cinema, something that seems doubtful to us.

It’s another example of why it would be helpful one day for an economist of other qualified person to independently study the impact of counterfeiting and piracy, and estimate how many sales are actually lost in cases such as Danks’s.

Are Irish ayes smiling?

Ireland’s voters will have the chance to say yes or no to the Unified Patent Court within the next year, after the government said this week that it will hold a referendum.

All of the participating member states have to ratify the Agreement on the Court before it can come into effect. So far, Denmark is the only one to have held a referendum – which overwhelmingly backed the new system.

See you in Singapore?

Our Asia editor Peter Leung (right) is on his way from Hong Kong to Singapore for IP Week (August 25 to 27), where he will be moderating some discussions and hoping to find out more about the country’s ambitions to be an IP hub. Ahead of time, he interviewed Tony Piotrowski of MPEG LA.

We’re pleased to be a media partner of what looks like another very interesting event. If you’re attending next week, please do say hello to Peter.

New face

Finally, we welcome a new Americas reporter to our New York office this week. Stephen Calabria will be working alongside Americas editor Michael Loney and the rest of our editorial team, focusing on reporting news from the US, Canada and Latin America.

We have some exciting plans for our US editorial coverage, so it’s great to have Stephen on board. Do look out for him at the big US events during the coming months.

Also on the blog this week:

Guest post: The lessons from Apple and Samsung's smartphone stalemate

Where do you stand on plain packaging?

And in our news and analysis:

Dot-Africa domain further delayed pending review

First PGR petition filed at the PTAB

BlackBerry combines patents into new unit

Intellectual Ventures cuts staff by 19%

IP Clinic: They’re playing our song. Sue them!

What the CJEU’s ruling in Apple means for retailers

How to handle India’s patent working requirements

Withers & Rogers opens in Munich

Australian domain administrator to present UDRP decisions overview

INTERVIEW: Tony Piotrowski of MPEG LA

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