University of the Arts London Own It - Creative London Intellectual Property Advice Service Creative London

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This week, will Ewan McGregor get stranded on The Island? Plus Own It seeks artists’ impressions and Google is left searching for a copyright solution.

15 August 2005

After last week’s Zorro row, another blockbuster movie faces a court battle over copyright this week. The producers of sci-fi thriller The Island are being sued by the makers of the splendidly named 1979 film Parts: The Clonus Horror, who claim the Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson fronted movie infringes their copyright. The Clonus creators cite 90 instances of where The Island “clones” their film, and are demanding the new movie be shut down and significant damages paid. Generally unfavourable reviews have also pointed out the similarity between the two films. Ewan and Scarlett fans shouldn’t worry too much though, as the action appears to be more a bid for an out of court settlement than a genuine attempt to shut the film down. Get more info from the BBC.

Next up, Own It would like to draw everyone’s attention to new copyright legislation due to become law early next year which will give artists a percentage of the proceeds every time their work is resold. The thinking is that the levy will give artists a boost by allowing them to continue to profit once the work is out of their hands. The so-called “droit de suite” will apply to paintings, engravings, drawings, glassware and photographs and will initially be levied only on the work of living artists. However, opponents to the new laws claim the levy will not aid artists early in their careers, instead enriching already established names (and from 2011, their descendants). The potential loss to the London art market as sales are moved abroad to avoid the levy is also worth bearing in mind. What do you think? Email with your views and we’ll feature them in a week or two. You can read a more detailed analysis of the pros and cons of the new law from The Times.

Finally, Google has been forced to delay its controversial plan to make library archives available online. The scheme, which aims to scan significant amounts of the largest university libraries in the US and the UK, as well as the New York Public Library, has run into difficulties with publishers over copyright infringement. Though the scanning of out-of-copyright books continues, the digitising of books still in copyright will be delayed until November while the issue is resolved. The BBC has more on that story.

Until next week.

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