Feb 10, 2015

Lawyers request Removal of Katy Perry's 'Left Shark Model'

The lucky, or unlucky few (depending on your perspective), able to stay awake into the early morning to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday 1st February 2015 would have seen Katy Perry host the coveted half time show which in the past has included such luminaries as Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson.

On this occasion Katy Perry recruited two backing dancers dressed as sharks for the performance of a song. Thrust into the limelight, one particularly enthusiast shark, the left shark, stole the show with a series of energetic, seemingly out of synch movements which sent it viral.

Fernando Sosa, spotting the trending activity of Left Shark, made available for 3-D printing via an online directory of blue prints, the design for the Left Shark at $24.99 on Shapeways.com. Unfortunately for Mr Sosa, his activities were picked up by the lawyers for Katy Perry who wrote a cease and desist letter. The letter, posted on Instagram by Mr Sosa, informed Mr Sosa that Ms Perry had not "consented to your [Mr Sosa's] use of its copyrighted works and IP, nor did our client [Ms Perry] consent to the sale of the infringing product."

In response to the removal of the item from Shapeways.com, Mr Sosa placed the design on another website, Thingiverse, making it freely available to download.

Many businesses will be familiar with this tale and the difficulty and frustration attached to protecting and enforcing their intellectual property rights online.  Steps have been made to expand the tools through which such actions can be tackled. The advent of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, in the United States, and Article 14 of Electronic Commerce Directive 2000/31/EC has made the removal of infringing materials from websites somewhat easier by execution of a 'Notice and Take Down' procedure. This process raises the matter of infringement to the web host who then has a reasonable time to respond and remove the infringing content or face joint liability for hosting infringing contents.

As always, the onus is on the rights holder to be ever more vigilant as to unsanctioned use and commercial exploitation of their intellectual property.

Posted by: in: Copyright, News

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