PPA launches guide to stop 'copycat' rows

By Alyson Fixter

A guide on how magazines can prevent “copycat” titles has been
published by the Periodical Publishers’ Association in the wake of the
bitter battle between Highbury and IPC over their resepective interiors
magazines.

IPC took Highbury to court earlier this year, claiming Highbury’s
Home had ripped off its market-leading title, Ideal Home, but lost the
case.

The new guide Writers’ Rights and Righting Wrongs,
published jointly by the PPA and media and telecoms solicitor Olswang,
describes ways publishers can register their magazines’ designs and how
to build a case if they feel they have been copied.

At the launch
of the guide this week, Dan Tench of Olswang said the IPCHighbury case
had “catastrophically failed”, despite the fact that many features of
the two magazines were “strikingly similar”.

It failed because
Highbury was able to provide a believable case as to where they sourced
their ideas from, and because IPC used too many examples to try to
prove its case, some of which did not stand up, said Tench.

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