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This week's IP news round-up

13 April 2005

Picture the scene – outside New York’s public library, last Thursday evening. A queue of people stretching around the block. What ever could it mean? The release of a new Harry Potter book? No. A protest against the U.S. Patriot Act which allows the government to monitor the book borrowing habits of its citizens? Nope. In fact, the hundreds of queuers were there to witness a clash of the titans. Jeff Tweedy of the rock band, Wilco, and Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford University law professor who has opposed criminalizing file sharing were going head to head to discuss whether swapping music for free on the internet was either a Good Thing or a Bad Thing. As it turned out both men were pretty much in agreement – like all things it’s good in moderation and bad in excess. A fuller report of the event can be found here, courtesy of the New York Times. And so from North America, we travel South, to Brazzzzziiiilll where, according to Reuters, ‘the family of the late legendary Brazilian bossa nova guitarist Antonio Carlos Jobim has filed a breach of contract and royalties lawsuit alleging that the rights to many of his famous songs have been wrongly assigned to those who translated them into English.’ Essentially the family are arguing that Universal Music Publishing Group never owned the copyright in Jobim’s hit songs including ‘The Girl from Ipanema’ and so couldn’t possibly have passed rights on to the man who translated his songs from their original Portuguese. "The Jobims obviously take quite seriously both the legacy and the rights of Antonio Carlo Jobim. They did not embark on this course lightly and are fully confident their position will be vindicated," the family's lawyer, John Rosenberg, said.  Well that’s alright then. And finally we head North East to London where the all-party Culture Select Committee has been debating the thorny issue of ‘resale rights’ – the rights of artists to receive additional payments whenever their works are resold. Publishing a report, The Market For Art, the committee recommended that artists, dealers and auctioneers work together towards an agreed best practice in contractual relationships. From January 1st 2006, the UK will have to implement a resale rights system, following the publication of an EU Directive. The system entitles the author of a work of art (or his/her heirs after death) to receive a percentage of the price of a work when it is resold by public auction or through an agent. At present the percentage ranges from 2% to 4%. More info from Artquest. Until next week!

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