IP Fridays – Episode 4 – Project 72, an interview with Jeremy Phillips and the history of the IPKat and Class 46 as well as infos on Buffer

This episode is about Project 72, a project aimed at proper copyright protection and royalties of music older than 1972. Also we have an interview with Jeremy Phillips, founder of the IPKat and Class 46. He will tell us about the history of these blogs. And we also have some information on a really useful tool in social media that we both use – Buffer.

Please leave us your comments regarding this episode!

IP FRIDAYS

 

Co-Presenters:

Rolf Claessen and Kenneth Suzan

 

Episode 4 – June 13, 2014

 

RC = Rolf Claessen

KS = Kenneth Suzan

JP = Jeremy Phillips, IPKat Blog

 

This is Elizabeth King of Conley Rose in Houston, TX and you are listening to IP Fridays.com.

 

KS: Hello and welcome to this episode of IP Fridays. Our names are Ken Suzan and Rolf Claessen and this is THE podcast dedicated to Intellectual Property. It does not matter where you are from, in-house or private practice, novice or expert, we will help you stay up-to-date with current topics in the fields of trademarks, patents, design and copyright, discover useful tools and much more.

 

RC: Thank you very much for tuning in to yet another episode of IP Fridays. We have 750 downloads of actual MP3 files up from 440 downloads two weeks ago for the third episode so we are growing exponentially so thank you very much dear listeners. If you want to subscribe to our podcast go to ipfridays.com/subscribe or if you want to go directly to the iTunes page or within iTunes go to www.ipfridays,.com/itunes on your iOS device or if you want to tweet about us, Twitter is really working very well for us, then you can go to ipfridays/love. Also, our dear listener Bob Rees sent us a really cool picture with his patented foam technology depicting IP Fridays so if you want to go to the show notes at www.ipfridays.com/4 then you can see the cool picture from Bob.

 

So what do we have in store for you today? We have some good news and recent developments for copyright holders of music from before 1972…then we have an interview with Jeremy Phillips who is also known as the IPKat or the IPKat as the team calls him. He will tell us about the history of the IPKat and also the history of the blog Class 46. Also we want to tell you about a really cool tool for you and, as a matter of fact, we will do that right now.

 

KS: Rolf, I’m sure that many of our listeners are actively involved with social media as part of their daily marketing routines. One particular App and Website that I have been using frequently is called Buffer. What I like about Buffer is that you can load some tweets that you would like to go out at various times during the day. You can then also see how many people are clicking on the particular tweets that you are sending out and it is a great way to manage your feed that goes out under your name on Twitter. I think getting the statistics is a great thing so you can see what is the reach of your particular message. Is it important to tweet in the morning or the afternoon or at night? If there is a particular country that you would like to target, obviously, if people are sleeping they are not likely to be reading your tweets but if you figure out what a good time is to tweet out to the people in Europe or Asia, Buffer can help you. It is a great way to get your message out to many people and can be a great thing for you to integrate into your social media practice. You can get more information through their faq that is available at bufferapp.com/faq. The Website is available at www.bufferapp.com. Happy tweeting!

 

RC: If you want to learn more about this, go to www.ipfridays.com/buffer.

 

Next up is an interview with Jeremy Phillips. He is the founder of the blog IPKat or, as he calls it, IPKat. And he is also founder of the blog Class 46. I met him during the INTA meeting in Hong Kong and recorded the following interview:

 

INTERVIEW BETWEEN ROLF AND JEREMY PHILLIPS, AUTHOR OF THE IPKAT BLOG AND THE CLASS 46 BLOG

 

RC: I am sitting here with Jeremy Phillips. We met at the INTA meeting in Hong Kong. He is not only known as the IPKat, probably one of the most popular bloggers in the world in the IP field, but he is also with Olswang. Jeremy thank you very much for being here with me.

 

JP: It is a pleasure to be here with you.

 

RC: So why don’t you tell our listeners a little more about yourself first.

 

JP: Where to start? The podcast runs through a limited period of time so to do justice to one’s life, it would take a lifetime to speak. Briefly, I became involved in intellectual property in 1973 when the subject was relatively unknown to most people and where specialists in intellectual property did not exist. If you were interested in one bit of it by definition you were interested in all of it because intellectual property itself was a niche. Over the last 41 years I have done pretty well everything you can think of in intellectual property terms. I have created it on a regular basis as an author and occasionally as a designer. I have commissioned it in managerial capacity. I have licensed it and I have taken licenses in it. I have no doubt infringed it. I have been threatened with infringement proceedings. I have threatened others with infringement proceedings. I have written about it. So I have lots of different dimensions to my appreciation of intellectual property. I can talk with those who practice because I have worked for many years with law firms. I can talk with those who own because I myself am a Community Trademark owner. I can talk to those who desperately want to see the reduction or limitation of intellectual property rights as an academic who has been anxious to make good use of other peoples work and to make it available for my students. So I think that I have a very good view from many different perspectives of the different parts of intellectual property and in the course of that I have been an academic, I have been an administrator, I have been a writer and currently I am also a social media coordinator for Marques which is the organization of European trademarks and I find myself handling their Twitter account, their LinkedIn account, their Facebook accountand all sorts of things which when I started my career I couldn’t imagine even existed.

 

RC: So was your activity as the IPKat your entrance ticket to Marques?

 

JP: No not at all, I was there before Marques was even born and I had the privilege, if that’s the right word, of attending an international conference in Vienna in 1986 at which a number of people spent two days arguing about whether they wanted to be an organization or a European trademarks school. In those dark and dingy days there was no INTA. There was the USTA, which was the United States Trademark Association, and it was about 95% American and we all went over there every year to wherever USTA was having its meeting and we were the foreigners, we were the outsiders. As Europeans, this is the best part before we really cemented Community Trademark and normalization, we looked in from the outside at this wonderful market of 50 countries. This is what the United States is. And we entered their facility, their shared law, their shared understanding, the affluent market – which they enjoyed – and we found ourselves thinking, there were more Europeans knocking around than Americans, ok there are 30 odd different countries but there are 50 different states — surely we can do something. Okay, we have linguistic differences but they also have linguistic differences which anybody who goes to the INTA in San Diego will discover, if you don’t speak Spanish you may have problems communicating with the staff in your hotel as we discovered. Anyway, the long and short of it was that there is this fantastic meeting. Most of the French people said we don’t need marks because we have good national organizations to look after trademarks. People in Scandinavia and Northern Europe, the cold climates said wouldn’t it be nice to huddle together once a year in a warm climate and have a meeting of European trademark practitioners and owners and that’s how it really got off the ground.

 

RC: So, my question was more maybe like did Marques choose you as a social media coordinator because of IPKat?

 

JP: No.

 

RC: So, rephrasing the question.

 

JP: Sorry, I took advantage of the open weave of your question and gave you more information than necessary for the answer. The IPKat or the IPKat as those of us who write it call it, the rest of the world calls it the IPKat, was a deductive device. It was there to enhance the readiness of the University of London’s Intellectual Property students and trademarks were only a minor part of it. The reason why I got involved with Marques in my social media capacity was that I was involved with Marques’ newsletter which came out four times a year and with the greatest respect you can’t have a newsletter that only comes out four times a year because news comes out on a daily basis. So Marques was very happy to be a little bit more daring and they commissioned me to produce notes on ten cases each month which would go on to their Website and I did that for a number of months, here are your ten cases for this month and here are your ten cases for that month and gradually it became apparent that ten cases covering Community Trademarks, national trademarks was not really adequate for a demanding membership and they thought well let’s just have a little news channel so they could carry…send us news on a regular basis…twenty pieces of news per month, so I did that and it occurred to me that this was really not the right way to go about it and it was costing them quite a bit of money and I can get it to you much more cheaply by getting your members to do your work for you for nothing. So without any permission from Marques — I wanted to do this as an experiment because I knew if I asked them they would say no. I set up a blog called Class 46. It was 45 classes at least so this is outside the scope and I persuaded a small number of Marques’ members to blog. If an interesting case comes along, blog it. Any change in the rules comes along, blog it. Any change in registry practice comes along, blog it. And very quietly under the noses of Marques because nobody from Marques’ counsel had actually noticed it, we had built up a following of about 200 email subscribers and then we had a lovely meeting in Barcelona of the communications team at which I said look this is what can be done instead of a newsletter and instead of a news channel and we had, dare I say, a blazing row. It was really the biggest row I ever had at Marques. I love them dearly and I hope they love me but I said look instead of paying all this money for things and nobody wants and nobody uses why not have something which costs you nothing which everybody uses. "No people, all our members, like to have paper." They were talking about their newsletter. This was only a few years ago I’m talking about, this is the 21st century and the long and the short of it was that they dug their heels in and I dug my heels in and gradually fewer and fewer people looked at the Marques news channel and their hits on the Website went down and down and more and more people signed up for Class 46 and in the end they came to me very quietly and said Jeremy would you like us to host Class 46 on the Marques website and at that point I realized that I was in and since they have been very wonderful to me they written they very own proprietary software for running the Marques Class 46 Blog which is like nothing else on earth and we have learned it and have come to love it and we have a team of 12 people from around Europe and people who are not on the team send us stuff, I should put that out there as well, and we now have over 4,000 email subscribers and we’re the most popular thing on the site. Why we are popular? Because it is things which Marques members which are writing for Marques members and that is what social media can do. We are the consumers of information and we are the generators of information and I am very, very proud of the Marques members for taking up the challenge.

 

RC: Listen, that sounds really great. The idea and the credit to win them over…you just have to be stubborn right and at some point they will give in. Very nice.

 

JP: They only give in if they are prepared to concede for points. I was very anxious although I looked very confident at the time — I found myself thinking perhaps the Marques members really do like to get four newsletters per year and they really don’t want the advantages of the social media. We had much the same things when we started up the Marques Facebook group and the Marques LinkedIn group and the Marques Twitter account because the people down at the bottom of the organization, the youngsters, the bright bushy tailed people, the activists, they are the people who are the first adapters to these things and the people at the top of tree, the decision makers, the people with distinguished track records, the councilmembers, they are the last people to ever get to hear about it. The people that have their secretaries open their emails for them.

 

RC: Yes, that is true. So I also wanted to ask you about the IPKat of course. So when did you start it and your motivation of course as I just heard was to build a reading list for your students but it certainly evolved into something very different so what was your motivation to change the focus and when did this happen and when did it evolve more into like a critical thinking publishing channel let’s say.

 

JP: Right. We started, the we being me and my research assistants at the time, Ilanah Simon, who is now Ilanah Simon Fhima and she is a Senior Lecturer at UCL. We were trying to produce something that would be a supplement to reading lists and book lists because published materials in intellectual property are always out of date by the time it has gotten to the students to look at them. I used to send out a little newsletter to all my LLM students every week saying these are the new cases and these are the news items and eventually a lot of bounce back and they kept emailing me every day saying Dr. Phillips I’ve changed my email address…can you please update your records? Professor Phillips I’ve lost the email that you sent me three weeks ago can you please resend it? I felt like I was being my own secretary because I had all of this. And when I discovered through Alana that there was such a thing as a blog, I pretended that I knew what they were for a few weeks and then I said tell me what a blog is and she explained. I said well this is the answer to my problems as a lecturer and I put information on the blog and said to the students, anything which goes on this blog you are taken to know about and when it comes to your exam assume that you should know about it even if it isn’t in the books. I did start this in June but the students were going home to study their revision for the LLM exam which is in late August, early September, so I was putting all this stuff out and the students weren’t reading it. But in the intervening weeks before their exams I was starting to get emails from practitioners and they were emailing me with things like I just read this thing on the Internet and I thought it was really interesting or I was involved in that case you were talking about and you are wrong, where did you get this from? I didn’t know this thing existed. So I found myself about an hour or so per week at that stage, it’s about three hours per day now, dealing with practitioners and it occurred to me that they had a more lively interest because it was their daily bread and butter as opposed to the students who simply wanted to pass an exam and then go off and have a drink. So I changed the focus ever so slightly to make it less a matter of records and more a matter of interaction with people who were worried about the subject and that’s how it started to take on its current form. Initially there was only the IPKat but he was later joined by Merpel and the IPKat is a simple cat who gives easy direction with regard to a case whether it’s a good decision for a particular reason but Merpel will perhaps be more harsh, more critical and between the two fictional cats we can set up a little dialogue or be able to reflect conflicting opinions without appearing to contradict ourselves so that was how the blog took its current form. I think gradually the team of bloggers changed. We brought in more people, people have left, and what we now have is a permanent team of six, together with every six months three guest bloggers who might have their own blogs or they may be doing completely different things and we give them free reign they become full members of the team. All decisions on the blog are about what we do and how we do it are collective decisions and we have a very important rule blog is that anybody can correct, amend or takedown and cannibalize even somebody else’s blog post if they think they can do a better job with it. The other thing is that none of us promote ourselves. We all work for different firms and sometimes we are on opposite sides in litigation so we can’t simply say my firm is the best firm…give us your business…that absolutely doesn’t work at all and sometimes we have to find a neutral third party to write a note on a case when too many of us have a conflict of interest in it.

 

RC: And you choose to have alias names so people don’t immediately see who is behind a certain name.

 

JP: Well sometimes our publishing information is from people who would be sacked if they were traced as the source of it. We receive information from employees of the European Patent Office and the Office of Harmonization of the Internal Markets and World Intellectual Property Organization and many national offices. The one office that we have never ever received any information from whatsoever is the USPTO, oddly enough.

 

RC: Oh interesting.

 

JP: I don’t know whether it is a matter of pride or is it ignorance? But I wait daily for a little news item, a little piece of juicy information from the USPTO. Til then, we just carry on with everybody else. But we don’t want to have people sides.

 

RC: Alright. So if people want to get involved with IPKat as an author or if they want to contact you, Jeremy, how would they go about it?

 

JP: Four times a year we have a blog roll post at which we post news of the other blogs which are not the IPKat blog but some of which are IPKat approved blogs which means that we have a say in how they go, or they are blogs in which we are involved in a personal capacity and at the end of that we have a message that says that we are looking for bloggers and if anyone is interested in blogging on any of these blogs can they please get in touch with us and that goes out to over 9,000 email subscribers and if we are lucky we will get one response. People are often embarrassed or afraid. People who are outspoken when it comes to seminars and lectures are often terrified to go down in writing with what they say and it is a surprise to me actually.

 

RC: So where would they contact the IPKat?

 

JP: The IPKat has its his own email. TheIPKat@gmail.com. They can contact any one of us as individual bloggers because there isn’t one of us who is the IPKat. We each use both of those guises Every so often we have technical difficulties, somebody is trying for example, to unsubscribe and they can’t do it and the plea get me out of this can happen to any one of use so we are all part of the same organism.

 

RC: Alright. Well,Jeremy thank you very much for your insight and the history of IPKat. I am very grateful that you took the time to be with me here and I am looking forward to many new posts on the IPKat and maybe I can find you some bloggers to help you grow the IPKat.

 

JP: Thank you very much indeed. That is very kind of you. It has been lovely to be interviewed by you.

 

RC: If you want to learn more about Jeremy Phillips and the blog IPKat, go to www.ipfridays.com/ipkat. And last but not least Ken has found out really useful recent developments for copyright holders of music from before 1972 and he is sharing that right now.

 

KS: Rolf, while terrestrial radio services are not required to pay royalties to any copyright holders under federal law, satellite and online digital radio services, such as Pandora, Sirius XM, and others, are required to pay licensing royalties when they broadcast copyrighted sound materials. There is a loophole, however; these services are not required to pay royalties for any sound recordings made before February 15, 1972, because these works are not considered to be copyrighted under federal law, and are only protected by state copyright laws.

 

In response to this loophole, a group of legendary musicians have created a group called “Project 72” to advocate for royalty payments for these older artists. This group is a partnership between SoundExchange and many classic artists like the Allman Brothers Band, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Melissa Etheridge, Al Green, B.B. King, the estates of John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix, and many more. Project 72 is now pushing Congress to enact legislation to fix this loophole and require royalty payments to be made for public performance or copying of these classic recordings by digital or satellite music services. SoundExchange estimates that these legacy artists and their associated record labels have lost out on $60m in royalties from digital services in the last 12 months.

 

In response to the concerns raised by Project 72, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and George Holding (R-N.C.) have introduced legislation (H.R. 4772) to close this loophole, and they have titled the legislation, “Respecting Senior Performers as Essential Cultural Treasures Act,” or the “RESPECT Act.” The representatives held a press conference (and mini-concert) accompanying the bill’s introduction on May 29, 2014, which included appearances by Motown legends Martha Reeves and Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad, as well as members of the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield.

 

The RESPECT Act would place any pre-1972 sound recordings under the same licensing and royalty scheme as sound recordings that are protected by federal copyright law. It would require digital and satellite music services to pay royalties to owners of the recordings, and these services could be sued by artists and owners in federal court if they fail to pay royalties. The bill does provide some protection for digital and satellite music services, as the bill immunizes them against copyright infringement lawsuits at the state level if royalties are paid in accordance with federal law. Furthermore, the bill specifies that it does not grant federal copyright status to pre-1972 recordings—it merely entitles recording artists and owners to royalty payments.

 

RC: If you want to learn more about this, then go to www.ipfridays.com/respect.

 

KS: That’s it for this episode. If you liked what you heard, please show us your love by visiting ipfridays.com/love and tweet a link to this show. We would be so grateful if you would do that. It would help us out to get the word out. Also, please subscribe to our podcast at ipfridays.com or on iTunes or Stitcher.com. If you have a question or want to be featured in one of the upcoming episodes, please send us your feedback at ipfridays.com/feedback. Also, please leave us a review on iTunes. You can go to ipfridays.com/itunes and it will take you right to the correct page on iTunes. If you want to get mentioned on this podcast or even have comments within the next episode, please leave us your voicemail at ipfridays.com/voicemail.

 

You have been listening to an episode of ipfridays.com. The views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by their respective law firms. None of the content should be considered legal advice. The IP Fridays podcast should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents of this podcast are intended for general informational purposes only and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions. As always, consult a lawyer or patent or trademark attorney.

 

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