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Own It stops celebrating Sundayís cricket result and returns to the world of IP, only slightly distracted.

8 August 2005

Welcome to this weekís cricket flavoured Own It intellectual property news round-up.

Opening the batting for us this week is an IP dispute over Zorro. Film fans may be aware we are due a second instalment of the Antonio Banderas/Catherine Zeta Jones fronted swashbuckler in the coming months. However, it appears the Sony Pictures sword and sombreros blockbuster has a rival. Sobini films are looking to produce a Zorro film set in the future, and are claming to have acquired the necessary intellectual property by buying the rights to the 1919 novel in which Zorro first appeared. Sony Pictures successfully shut down production of the rival film, but now faces a legal challenge from Sobini, who claim Sony do not own the sole rights to Zorro in copyright nor as a trademark. Own It suggests a duel with swords as being the best way for the parties to resolve the dispute or failing that, an out of court settlement.  Read more at the BBC.

Next at the crease is the tale of a married couple convicted of copyright and trademark offences. The pair had been counterfeiting DVDs, games and music CDs and were found to be in possession of £28,000 worth of illegal discs. The couple had also been claiming benefits to supplement their ill-gotten gains. The Bonnie and Clyde of DVD piracy were hit for six with jail terms of 6 month (for her) and 21 months (for him). The now separated pair were raided as part of the exotically named Operation Zouk, which in August 2004 saw 57 counterfeiters caught out by the long arm of the law. Again, the ever-reliable BBC has the full story.

The final session of todayís play concerns Irish software developer Ian Clarke and his new version of the file-sharing program, Freenet. Unlike previous file-sharing software, Freenet enables sharers to download information anonymously. The software was developed (so Mr Clarke claims) with the aim of allowing information to be shared by dissidents in countries with repressive regimes. However, commentators have been quick to condemn the software as giving a free reign to music pirates, paedophiles and terrorists. The software may be legislated against to ensure this unholy trinity donít make use of it, but the cat is already out of the bag in China, where an early version has proved popular amongst political protestors.  The Times has the details on that story.

Own It returns next week.

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