22 April 2010 - 3:59pm | posted by | 10 comments

The legalities the BNP face in Marmite action

The legalities the BNP face in Marmite actionThe legalities the BNP face in Marmite action

Rob Illidge, marketing executive at Manchester law firm Ralli explains the implications for the British National Party (BNP) having used the image of the jar of Marmite in their campaign video, and discusses the case Unilever has against the party.

Under English Law, Copyright of an image will usually belong to the photographer that took the photo unless that photographer has made an agreement to the contrary or is taking the shot as part of his duties as an employee (In which case the employer will own the copyright).

Being the owner of copyright, this means that you can restrain other people from copying or using the image without your permission subject to a number of very limited exceptions.

Usually, cases don't go any further than a stern letter and a payment of the appropriate royalty, but here Unilever are clearly determined to separate themselves from any political party, including the BNP.

Unilever, like any other manufacturer, will have a very strict policy on the use of their imagery without a license or permission and employ a number of in-house lawyers to take action against any infringers.

Use of the Marmite image may have saved the BNP time in the short term, however this at a time when organisations are ever increasing their level of brand protection and IP rights.

Defences for copyright infringement are few and far between. The most commonly used is innocent infringement, which requires a defendant to demonstrate that they genuinely believed that there was no copyright or that the period of protection had expired.

Copyright Infringement has made the news in a number of similar cases such as the Hitler Downfall parodies, Viacom/YouTube lawsuit and even with other political parties in their ad campaigns and we will no doubt see more in the future.

Comments

Anonymous (not verified)
22 Apr 2010 - 16:40
Anonymous's picture

let's hope they take then to the cleaners!!!!!

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Anonymous (not verified)
22 Apr 2010 - 17:12
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not sure what second para means anon 17:06 - or is it just me?

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Anonymous (not verified)
22 Apr 2010 - 17:14
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3rd para even...?

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Anonymous (not verified)
22 Apr 2010 - 17:30
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Anonymous 17.06. It's not about payment. It's about brand values, what your brand stands for. If Marmite stands for repatriation and governance based on ethnicity then fair enough.

Also on a cynical note, 1/2 mill marmite sales against how many lost over the long term?

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Anonymous (not verified)
22 Apr 2010 - 17:39
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Good point17:30 what a pity you had to spell it out to 17:06...obviously this person is as thick as the product itself!

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Anonymous (not verified)
22 Apr 2010 - 17:41
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I think Anon 17:06 you have shown that you know as much about branding as you do about social tolerance. Marmite don't need that advertising coverage, they get over £5m of PR for free every year. This is significantly damaging for their brand, to think that they might be associated with the BNP could dramatically effect their sales.

They are doing exactly what any responsible brand would do, and very publicly extracting themselves from a position of endorsement.

The reason the BNP chose Marmite to make their point, because they're a much bigger and popular brand than they are.

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Anonymous (not verified)
23 Apr 2010 - 08:45
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well put 17:41...

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Anonymous (not verified)
23 Apr 2010 - 09:20
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Numpty anon 17.06 has clearly no appreciation of Brand integrity or consumer media consumption.

I think 17.06 has also had to tone their 'comments' down, or been reluctant to give the info required to log on and comment.

Either way, love the Drum comments section or hate it.....we can do without socially intolerant and intellectually challenged individuals like 17.06 on it!

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Anonymous (not verified)
23 Apr 2010 - 11:24
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...I get the feeling anon 17:06 may not be one of us ... and stumbled upon our banter-sect by google - begone with your racist politics sir!

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Anonymous (not verified)
23 Apr 2010 - 11:48
Anonymous's picture

get the impression anon 17:06 is not in the design/advertising/digital business...

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