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Merchandise Copyright for English Premier League Football Teams?

Discussion in 'Intellectual Property Law Forum' started by Dave Smith, 24 August 2014.

  1. Dave Smith

    Dave Smith Member

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    Hi.

    A question in regards to copyright of English Premier League (EPL) football/soccer teams.

    I have seen a few car stickers over the yrs with oversea's football team crests or names printed on them such as the ones below, and it got me thinking if they are unofficial merchandise and if so would engraving or labeling items for sale with, say, Liverpool Football Club be in breach of any intellectual property law? e.g. sale on EBAY such as the ones below.

    Both would be rather easy to create from home to sell but what would be the risk in doing so?

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    1. As a general concept, copyright in one country is recognised in other countries
      that are signatories to the International Copyright Convention.

    2. Copyright is a form of property ("intellectual property", or "IP").
      A person can "infringe" another's copyright.

    3. So, yes, dealing in a work in which you do not have copyright
      (or another form of consent, such as a licence), can be unlawful.
      This is certainly true of the EPL and its member clubs, who,
      like most professional sporting bodies, have a sophisticated system
      to protect and monetise their IP.

    4. In strict terms, selling infringing items can be a breach of eBays T&Cs.
      That said, bootleg items are all over eBay.

    5. The risk to the bootlegger is that the owner of the IP will sue you for breach of copyright.
     
  3. Dave Smith

    Dave Smith Member

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    Thankyou Tim for your speedy reply.
    I thought that may be the case i just wasn't sure if it was the world over.
    If thats the case with official EPL club and head body FA copyright and trademark situations then i wonder how regulated fan support may be.
    For example most of us know that Liverpool FC's fan slogan is You'll Never Walk Alone but i don't believe the club has any ownership over that message.
    To print or engrave such a message for the purpose of sale to the Liverpool supporter base with no other reference to the club is a bit of a grey area i suppose yet if Liverpool fans understand the reference and are willing to pay for stickers or other items then am i right to assume that's a loophole as such that can be exploited?
    EBAY is a little unclear with this and i know you don't represent them i was just looking for a basic legal stand point.
    There is something im currently looking at for an EBAY and Amazon business but before i invest any money im investigating the realities of such a project.
    Thanks
     
  4. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    The "realities" are that unless you own a mark, or have a licence from a mark's registered holder, you use the mark at risk of being sued.
     

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