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Intellectual Property Law

Fan May Face IP Claim Over Dr. Who Knitting Patterns

Posted May 14, 2008 12:14 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A 26-year-old British fan of the BBC's classic Doctor Who television show is facing a potential intellectual property claim over the knitting patterns she invented and distributed over the Internet for free, so fellow fans could create their own homemade versions of the show's characters.

Technically, it seems that the United Kingdom broadcaster may have a valid case against the crafty fan, who is known only by her screen name, Mazzmatazz. However, critics say copyright and trademark law needs to be changed to preclude such claims and at least one lawyer advises that discretion would be the better part of valor on the BBC's part, according to the London Times.

It appears that Mazzmatazz may have changed the characters enough, in the process of creating knitted versions of Adipose and Ood, to qualify for copyright protection herself, the newspaper notes. However, mentioning the Doctor Who show created additional problems for her under trademark law, it says, relying on comments from lawyers.

A spokesman says the BBC doesn't want to prosecute fans, but was forced to act because knitted versions of the show's baddies "are being sold on eBay.”

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