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First off today, Scott Reyburn at the New York Times reports that the European Union’s intellectual property office has denied Banksy’s attempt to trademark his famous Flower Thrower image, saying that the mark is invalid.
The battle centers around the website Full Clour Black, a British greeting card site that has been offering copies of that image for sale on cards. Typically, an artist would apply for copyright protection of such an image but that would require Banksy to reveal his identity, something that he has refused to do. So, instead, he attempted to trademark the image, even going as far as to open a pop-up store to show him using the image in commerce.
However, that effort appears to be for naught as his application has been denied. This was in part due to Banksy’s own statements, where he admitted to only selling it to fulfill trademark requirements. Saying that the filing was in “bad faith” the intellectual property office has denied his application and Full Clour Black continues to sell cards featuring his artwork today.
Next up today, Bloomberg reports that Qatar-based broadcaster BeIN has announced it will not renew its deal to carry Bundesliga, Germany’s top-level Soccer league, in the Middle East. The deal, which was previously worth 200 million euros ($237 million) for a five-year term was cancelled due to piracy.
BeIN has been involved in a long-running dispute with neighboring Saudi Arabia. After Saudi Arabia placed an embargo on Qatar, a “pirate” satellite network named BeoutQ began airing BeIN programming in the country. BeIN has repeatedly claimed that the network has the support of Saudi Arabia itself, something that the country has denied.
However, that piracy now has some direct financial consequences as BeIN has declined to renew its deal with Bundesliga for the Middle East. Though it still has contracts with Bundesliga for France and Asia, BeIN says specifically that piracy is to blame for not picking up the deal. Accoridng to BeIN, the deal no longer makes “economic sense” and is not viable.
Finally today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that, after years of legal wrangling, Spinal Tap co-creators Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Michael McKean and Christopher Guest have reached a deal with StudioCanal that may allow for the franchise to be revived.
The four creators sued both StudioCanal and Universal Music claiming that they had received almost no income from their wok on the film despite it being a cult hit for nearly four decades. They alleged breach of contract, fraud and were also suing to terminate their prior agreements under copyright termination. The plaintiffs had previously reached an agreement with Universal Music over the soundtrack leaving only the issue with the film remaining.
That too has been settled with both sides telling the court that they have reached an agreement and will provide the court with the full paperwork soon. The settlement means the court will not have to rule on whether or not Spinal Tap was a work made for hire and, thus, ineligible for copyright termination. According to the article, settlement discussions have included rights in the film as well as monetary payment to the creators, which will likely be covered by an insurer.