Sunday, August 19, 2007

trademarking for literary protection

Via TeleRead, and interesting article in the Financial Times on trademarking of literary characters, author names, etc., as a layer of protection after copyright runs out.

Quoting from the Financial Times, "posthumous Publishers who refuse to live and let die," August 16, 2007 (might be behind a pay wall):

Because copyright comes to an end – 70 years after an author's death in Europe, sooner in the US – literary estates have turned to trademark registration for an extra layer of protection. Characters, book titles and authors' names have all been registered.

For dead authors who are still in copyright, trademarking may help estates keep control after the term ends, says intellectual property lawyer Laurence Kaye. "If you intend to republish a book that has gone out of copyright, you would have to do it in a way that did not infringe any trademarks."

IFP (Ian Fleming's estate) has registered everything from Ian Fleming to James Bond and Miss Moneypenny, so any attempt to reproduce the books without permission after they go out of copyright would meet difficulties.

Mr Kaye says: "You would have to manipulate the book so that there was nothing in it that infringed the registered trademarks."
The article also mentions the trend where dead authors such as Robert Ludlum and V. A. Andrews just keep publishing posthumously. Ludlum at least left behind outlines for work he wanted to be written after his death. I don't know what to think of the writer who has written more than two dozen V. A. Andrews novels under her name for twenty years after her death.

No comments: