4/19/2011

UK guidelines on sale of Royal Wedding souvenirs

Prince William and Kate Middleton will get married next week, in what surely will be deemed the wedding of the century. Many people will want souvenirs to commemorate the event, and the free market will respond by providing them. I mention this, because the British are quite imaginative about creating special-purpose IP laws. They've got one for the 2012 Olympics (called the London Olympics Association Right). And they've long had a statute that grants perpetual copyright protection to "Peter Pan" (at least within the UK). So it's somewhat surprising that the British do not have a "royal rights" statute. That they don't means that souvenir sellers will be able to satisfy the demand for Royal Wedding memorabilia. On the other hand, there are official guidelines - issued by Lord Chamberlain's Office - concerning the use of photographs on wedding souvenirs. And traditional copyright principles continue to apply as well. All this is explained quite nicely by Shepherd and Wedderburn, in an article titled Everyone Wants to Share in the Royal Couple's Happy Day.