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Greetings from this week's Own It intellectual property news round-up.

30 August 2005

We start this week with riding accident-prone pop queen Madonna, who has reportedly been wincing at more than just her broken collarbone recently. The singer is attempting to stop the production of a range of underwear that will feature her image. The underwear, which will be sold online, features images of Madge from a 1979 photoshoot where she posed nude for New York snapper Martin Scheiber. Madoona received a paltry $30 for the shoot, and rather inadvisedly signed away all her rights to the images. The photos have since featured on a successful range of condoms in the US, but Madonna is hoping to prevent the raunchy underwear being sold by claiming the images together with the range's name, "Madonna Nude 1979", amount to unauthorised endorsement. Own It suspects Madge has been more careful with her IP rights in the intervening 26 years. More on that story from The Times

Next up is Own It's favourite IP enforcement story of recent weeks. The tale concerns an FBI sting to catch gangsters from the Far East who were involved in smuggling counterfeit DVDs, fake Viagra and a host of other unsavoury goods into the US. After years of investigation, the FBI decided the best way to scoop up all the bad guys in one go was a fake wedding between two of the undercover agents who had been working on the investigation. Invitations were duly sent out to the mobsters who, upom arrival at the airport, were greeted by limousines which promptly whisked them off to police custody. Check out The Daily Telegraph for more on the sting.

Finally this week, Guns N'Roses frontman Axl Rose faces legal action in Los Angeles from former bandmates Saul Hudson and Michael McKagan (better known as Slash and Duff) over unpaid royalties. Axl apparently instructed the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers to pay royalties collected on behalf of the group to him only, sparking accusations of "an attack of arrogance and ego" from Slash and Duff as well as a lawsuit aimed at rectifying the situation. The former monsters of rock have done battle in the courts before, most recently over Axl Rose's refusal to license the group's recordings for film soundtracks. The BBC has more.

That's it for this week. See you next time.

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