WIPO Fails at Copyright Basics

A week ago, we reported on how the World intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) wouldn’t let the Pirate Party’s international association – PPI – join as an observer member. It seems that some part of the reason might be because the pirates are quite observant, and might point out problems with WIPO publications and claims.

For an organization that is completely focused on copyright, you’d think they could at least manage to get the basics right. You would, however, be wrong.

In the August 2012 edition of their magazine, they run an article on video games, including a page indicating what parts are protected under copyright, patent and trademark law. It is on this page that the words ‘Epic Fail’ come to have new meaning.

The top of the page feature screenshots from three different games. Panzer Dragoon II:Zwei, Rez, and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

The ‘fail’ comes when all three are tagged “Photos: © SEGA. All Rights Reserved

Zelda SEGA? (large version)

While Panzer Dragoon 2 is indeed a Sega game, as was Rez, anyone with even a passing knowledge of games would know that Zelda’s screenshot would be copyrighted to Nintendo, not SEGA.


Additionally, the words ‘All Rights Reserved’ has been depreciated for the last 12 years. It arose from the Buenos Aires Convention of 1910, but has not been required since 2000, when Nicaragua became the last Buenos Aires signee to also sign the Berne Convention, which has no such requirement.

You would think that an organization like the World Intellectual Property Organization would not only understand that such terms have been superseded for the last 12 years, but would also bother to check who they’re attributing copyright to. Maybe it’s this level of fact-checking that WIPO was really afraid of when they decided to reject the Pirate Party.

Hat Tip: Brad Hall

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