The BBC tell us that a breach of copyright claim against the Welsh government over photographs used of Dylan Thomas in a tourism drive has been thrown out by a court in Ireland. Visit Wales used photos taken in the 1930s to help promote the 100th anniversary of the poet's birth. But the judge said that if the case was to proceed, Pablo Star Ltd, which owns the copyright. would have to bring the action in a court in Wales or England. Interstingly The Welsh government claimed it has sovereign immunity. But there was worse yet to come for a Mr Haydn Price, who owns Pablo Star Limited. The BBC again tell us that Mr Price has just lost a libel action against 93 year old Gwen Watkins, whose husband Vernon took the Dylan Thomas photos. It seems Mr Price persuaded Mrs Watkins to sell him the copyright in several of the photos for the princely sum of £1,000. The Judge in the libel case, Judge Raymond Groarke, the told Dublin's Circuit Court that he was dismissing the claim as there was no evidence that a latter from Mrs Watkins to Mr Price saying he was a 'bad man' had ever been published: The BBC report that Judge Groarke added "I am not going to go so far as to say Mr Price took advantage of Mrs Watkins but he certainly should have been a lot more careful with the way he dealt with an elderly person." Mr Price reportedly has a “zero tolerance” approach to copyright infringement and has had some success in other actions. In the current case against the Welsh Government, it was reported that Mr Price was claiming €3,000 for every use of the photos.
Mark Towle,who made replica Batmobiles until being enjoined, has petitioned the US Supreme Court to review his dispute with DC Comics. He argues that the Batmobile doesn't deserve copyright protection as its a 'useful article'. In february 2013 the District Court held that the “The ‘functional elements’ – e.g., the fictional torpedo launchers, the Bat-scope, and anti-fire systems – are only ‘functional’ to the extent that they helped Batman fight crime in the fictional Batman television series and movies. Thus, the Batmobile’s usefulness is a construct.” Last September, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. Towle had argued that the replicas were fully functioning automobile. In her opinion, 9th Circuit judge Sandra Ikuta disagreed saying the car also has "character" with "physical as well as conceptual qualities," and "sufficiently delineated" to be recognizable whenever and wherever it appears. More on the Hollywood Reporter here. The CopyKat doubts the SCOTUS will take on the case. A final knockout blow for Towle.
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