Liquor licensing specialist joins team

We are pleased to announce that Janet Hood has been appointed as a consultant solicitor to work within our business division.

Janet, the only liquor licensing accredited specialist in Tayside and Angus has extensive experience working with both licensees and local authorities and is an active member of a number of Scottish Executive committees concerning alcohol. She is Council and Board member of the Law Society of Scotland and is a participant on the Law Society of Scotland’s Licensing Law Reform Committee. Janet is a board member of the Scottish Tourism Forum, a council member of the British Institute of Innkeepers and is a member of the Scottish Trade Licensing Association.

She has a remit to develop Blackadders’ offering in the hospitality, licensing and tourism sector through positive engagement with our existing clients and by identifying new clients amongst her many and varied contacts in the industry.

David Milne, partner and head of the business division says: “Licensing law is a bureaucratic minefield and we want to ensure that our clients maximize their business potential and adopt best practice. I am delighted that Janet has agreed to work with us; she is a very experienced and well-respected lawyer who will add depth to an already high performing team. It is a very exciting opportunity for Blackadders and advances our strategy of being the leading East Coast firm for people and for business.”

Renewable Energy Continues to Grow

Several newspapers reported this week that Mitsubishi has taken over the Scottish renewable energy technology company Artemis Intelligent Power. The Japanese company has said that the move will lead to an investment of £100m over 5 years and an additional 200 green jobs.

Artemis, described by the Carbon Trust as “the leading light in the UK’s clean tech revolution” has developed new controllable hydraulic pumps and motors. Artemis Wind is developing the technology to be used in wind turbine transmissions.

Managing Director of Artemis Win Rampen said: “This marks a huge step forward for the development of our game-changing technology. Drawing on the breadth and depth of Mitsubishi’s expertise and skills, AIP look forward to accelerating our research and development work with a view to our technology being used in turbines in UK and European waters by 2015.

A new ‘Centre for Alternative Technology’ is also planned by Mitsubishi and has been welcomed by the Scottish government. First Minister Alex Salmond said: “As well as delivering new jobs and investment, over the long-term this announcement could result of the creation of a major offshore wind turbine manufacturing site in Scotland.

The good news is that renewable energy continues its rapid growth in Scotland, which is an area of activity where Blackadders are increasingly being instructed. Please contact me at shaun.mackintosh@blackadders.co.uk or call me on 01382 342110 for any advice or information on renewable energy and find out how we can help you.

Copyright – where are we going now?

Few areas of law divide opinion quite like the law of copyright.

Copyright protects the tangible expression of ideas across various categories of work.  The principal purpose of copyright law is to ensure that the creators of original works are rewarded for their endeavours.  However, as is well documented, the digital age has presented the system with a whole raft of problems and not everyone can agree upon how they should be solved.

Scroll to the comments section of any online article on the subject and you are likely to find furious debate raging between those who champion the rights of the creative industries and others who believe in the free access and distribution of content.  The UK has long grappled to balance these competing interests but has yet to devise a legal framework which satisfies everyone or, arguably, anyone.

Recent Developments

The Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA) was pushed through in the dying days of the Labour government and introduced various measures designed to counter online copyright infringement.  These included imposing obligations on internet service providers (ISPs), such as BT and Talk Talk, to take action against suspected infringers and even disconnect them altogether.  However, last month the High Court ordered a judicial review of the DEA in order to determine whether it is legal and justifiable.  This could ultimately result in aspects of the DEA being amended or even scrapped altogether.

Only days before the decision to carry out a judicial review was taken, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he had ordered an independent review of the UK’s intellectual property laws in order to determine whether they are “fit for the internet age”.  Mr Cameron pointed to the “fair-use” copyright exceptions that exist in the US, opining that they encourage creative innovation and warning that the founders of Google had advised that they could not have formed their business in Britain.

Although the exceptions to copyright infringement in the UK are certainly more rigid than those enjoyed by our friends across the Pond, it is worth bearing in mind that the manner in which the courts in each country have interpreted the relevant legislation over the years has not been dramatically different.  Moreover, the results of a consultation conducted by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) as recently as 2009 indicate that opinions on copyright exceptions remain somewhat divergent.  As such, some question the value of yet another review in this area.

The Future

So what exactly does the future hold for copyright law in the UK?  The short answer is that nobody really knows.  My view is that the law is likely to be tinkered with further in the coming years, but exactly what changes will be made remains unclear.  As ever, the acid test will be how the courts interpret any new legislation.

What changes would you like to see made to the law of copyright?  We’d be delighted to hear from you.

If you require advice on the subject of copyright or any other aspect of intellectual property law, please contact me at kirk.dailly@blackadders.co.uk or on 01382 342453.