What’s in a name? Easter egg copyright fiasco


Mupfel80, 2013. Issued under a CC0 Declaration (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/legalcode).

Fearing a celebrity lawsuit for infringement of copyright, confectioner Thorntons has refused to sell a personalized chocolate Easter egg inscribed with a boy’s name ‘Rooney’.

Jo-Anne Scholes (mother of Rooney Scholes, supporter of Manchester United F.C. and owner of cats ‘Cantona’ and ‘Berbatov’) described the refusal as “barmy”, “madness”, “beyond belief” and “a total farce”.

The law of copyright in Britain does not protect people’s names – it protects works.  If you are planning to have something written on an Easter egg, but are unsure whether you are likely to infringe copyright, there is more information available here: https://copyright.lboro.ac.uk/copyright/copyright/.

For full details of the Rooney Easter egg, see: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/.

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US Blogger sued for using images in copyright

American based romance author Roni Loren, has revealed that she has been sued for using images on her blog which she did not know were protected by copyright.  Roni had been using images found on the Internet to illustrate her blog posts, until a photographer contacted her with a take down notice.  Although Roni quickly removed the copyright image from her blog, she was forced to pay compensation and says that it was “a lot of stress, lawyers had to get involved, and I had to pay money that I didn’t have for use of a photo I didn’t need”.  The author has since changed the images on 700 blog posts to avoid the same mistake happening again.

In the UK as well as the US, the law does not support the re-use of copyright images for purely illustrative purposes.  However, you can still use images on your blog posts.  You just need to make sure you are using images with permission from the copyright owner.  Getting permission directly can be difficult so the best way to do this is by using the Creative Commons Search facility, which finds images and other media that has been licenced for re-use.  Usually you will need to attribute the image to the owner and always check the licence terms for each image.  Further information can be found in the section on Sourcing and Using Resources on this website.

To read more about Roni’s story in her own words please see her blog: http://www.roniloren.com/blog/2012/7/20/bloggers-beware-you-can-get-sued-for-using-pics-on-your-blog.html 



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“You need to get your work ‘copyrighted'”

Copyright symbol copyright Elmorsa, reproduced under CC Licence from Flickr

There is no such thing as ‘copyrighting’ work. Copyright is an automatic right that applies to any work that is fixed in a tangible format such as being written down or recorded. It does not need to be registered unlike patents or trademarks.

A copyright notice consists of the symbol ©, followed by the name of the copyright owner and the year of first publication.

For example: © Queensland University of Technology 1999

In the UK, a copyright notice does not need to be present to ensure protection under the Act; however, it does remind users that the work is protected and identifies the copyright owner.

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