Consumers caught out as UK firms furnished with crippling copyright laws


The website of Voga, Britain’s foremost replica furniture importer, boasts that the firm “was created to make great design accessible to all”, before adding: “The greatest mid-century furniture designs are back where they belong: in your homes.” Except they’re not. They are in fact in a warehouse in County Kildare where, unless the UK customers who ordered them travel to Ireland to collect them, or pay a third-party delivery firm to do so, they will be resold or destroyed.

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A case that will run and run: Duracell and Energizer’s court fight over rabbit mascots


The Duracell and Energizer bunnies are set to fight it out in court, after a judge ruled that a legal tussle over the right to use a rabbit mascot can proceed. Duracell failed in a bid to dismiss a lawsuit by Energizer, which claims that its rights to use a pink bunny to advertise batteries in the US have been violated. While Duracell’s bunny is 16 years older than Energizer’s, having been born in 1973, the latter firm has the sole right to sell rabbit-emblazoned batteries in the US.

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My Little Pony sued over font usage

 My Little Pony and the Unlicensed Font

Font by the Font Bros

An interesting story here – Hasbro are being sued by Font Bros for the unlicensed use of GenerationB, itself inspired by the 1961 Hayley Mills movie, The Parent Trap.

Fonts are software as well as designs and require licensing for commercial use – something a lot of designers forget and, to be honest, even though I know it, it’s not something I’ve ever knowingly considered. The issue of font licensing isn’t exactly transparent. I’ve got a Typekit account courtesy of Adobe Creative Cloud – but have I ever looked at what this allows me to do with the fonts I download? Erm… no. Think of fonts like stock images – it’s okay to use them for comps and maybe non-profit work but the moment they’re being used commercially, you need to look at the license.

As Fastcodesign say in their article on this story

Generally speaking, there are no conspiracies involved in how respectable companies end up misusing fonts. Oftentimes, the issue is as simple as a lapse in due diligence when a designer uses a font for professional work that he or she only has license to use individually.

Hasbro are a big company, and an obvious target for this type of action – and it is legitimate given the amount of time and skill it takes to create a font (particularly a decent one). Where does responsibility lie? Is it with the designer? Or the client? Or shared? If you’re a designer (or, indeed, employ designers) it’s probably worth your while investigating this and keeping a note of which fonts you’re allowed to use on commercial jobs, and which you need a license for.

There is a completely separate issue here – the crime against typography that is the My Little Pony brand. Let’s leave that to the Design Police.

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It must suck to be a designer at Lenovo

Apple laptops compared with Lenovo's

Spotted on Twitter. You’d think Lenovo would have followed what happened to Samsung when they pulled this cheap stunt.

And it is cheap. You might be an Apple hater but I dare you to defend this as in anyway a positive contribution to design, the user experience, or in any way innovative.

Remember when your parents bought you a ‘Walkman’ and it turned out to be a cheap knockoff that made everyone laugh at you?

That’ll be the people who get given this, that will.

I’m assuming Lenovo employ designers, rather than photocopier operators. In which case, this must be a pretty soul destroying way to make a living. ‘Want to be creative? Forget it. Copy this.’ 

Trunki v Kiddee: battle over children’s luggage reaches supreme court

Ewan Grist, a specialist intellectual property lawyer at law firm Bird & Bird, said the case was “likely to have profound implications in the design world, whichever way the supreme court rules”. Rob Law, founder of Magmatic, led a #ProtectYourDesign campaign on Twitter to call for a further appeal to the supreme court and promote appropriate intellectual property protection for British designers. The campaign is backed by a number of UK designers and entrepreneurs, including the Habitat founder, Sir Terence Conran, the Brompton Bikes boss, Will Butler-Adams, and the Grand Designs presenter, Kevin McCloud.

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Anish Kapoor is right to be livid about China stealing his big Bean sculpture

William Hogarth would sympathise with Kapoor. The great 18th-century artist was so frustrated by pirated editions of his prints that he successfully lobbied for a British copyright act, known as Hogarth’s Act. The Engraver’s Copyright Act was repealed by the Copyright Act 1911. The right of artists and authors to not have their work copied wholesale is a result of a commercial market in culture: Hogarth was one of the first artists to sell his work in the open marketplace. Today, every work of art in Europe, the US and many other places is someone’s property, and protected as such.

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You’ve sold 17 million albums and you want to pay me nothing? Pat Pope’s row with Garbage

“Unlike Garbage, I think the work of artists, including my own work, has a value that is at least equal to everything else being done in a commercial project, and I’m not prepared to reduce the value of it to zero by giving it away. “Stop Working For Free. That’s my final word.”

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