International legal practice Osborne Clarke is representing Sony Music Italy in an IP dispute regarding an injunction to block the sale of Roger Water’s new album Is This The Life We Really Want? based on the contention the artwork infringes on the copyright of Italian artist Emilio Isgrò.

Representing Sony Music’s Director Alfredo Clarizia at the interim hearing on 27th June, Osborne Clarke’s award winning Italian intellectual property team successfully argued that a provisional order issued previously at a hearing before Sony Music were informed of the claim, be revoked.

Sony Music argued that the album cover does not in any way plagiarise Mr Isgrò’s work.  In support of its argument Sony Music submitted a report prepared by the acclaimed art critic Vittorio Sgarbi.

Mr Sgarbi denied that Emilio Isgrò had invented anything capable of protection in copyright. Rather, he said, Mr Isgrò “had intercepted an atmosphere and developed an expressive technique. His obsession cannot however impose itself as a prohibition on others from utilising the same gesture or archetype (acknowledged as not his).”

Federico M. Ferrara, lead client Partner at Osborne Clarke, commented: “This argument goes to the very foundation of copyright: to what extent can a style or idea be protected, as opposed to specific individual works using that style?  Although an artist may come to be associated with a particular form of work – such as Cubism or Pop Art – copyright generally will not prevent other artists from adopting that style and using it to create their own, equally original works.”

At the request of the judge, Sony Music and Emilio Isgrò agreed to reschedule the hearing to 19 July 2017 to allow the effective parties (The company of the artist and Emilio Isgrò) to negotiate. In the meantime, Sony Music has full permission to recommence the sales of the album.

The Osborne Clarke team advising Sony Music on the matter is led by Partner and Head of the IP department Federico M. Ferrara who was supported by Partner Federico Banti and Senior Associate Marialaura Boni.

Osborne Clarke’s international IP team work with a number of leading technology and media companies and regularly manage large projects and transactions for clients based in Europe, the US and Asia, providing advice on everything from patent strategy to trade marks and licensing issues.


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