22 May 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Copycats plague publishers

Copycat publications continue to damage publishers and are a direct form of intellectual property infringement, News Corp’s Jeffrey Parnass said at the 2017 INTA Annual Meeting in Barcelona.

According to Parnass, vice president and assistant general counsel at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, said copycat publications, which imitate another's look, feel and trade dress, can cause “brand confusion and dilution”.

“People don’t see it as trademark infringement or a brand problem … but they are a direct form of trademark infringement,” he said.

Nick Redfearn, deputy CEO and partner at Rouse, said that copycat publications are still widespread.

In China, counterfeit books and academic journals remain a huge problem. Redfearn showed how merchants on Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace sell logins for various publications and academic journals.

“Books are still a growing market in Asia. They remain a part of a growing economy,” he said.

In terms of action a brand can take, it depends on the jurisdiction. “Some jurisdictions recognise copyright more than trademarks,” Parnass explained. “You must look at the differences of local law and see which type of IP right you should try to enforce.”

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