IPC copyright case dismissed in High Court

IPC’s decision to protect design and editorial copyright for its Ideal Home magazine has backfired after a court sided with rival consumer publisher Highbury House and its Home title.

The High Court said this week that the front cover design and some internal features of Highbury’s Home title did not infringe on the copyright of IPC’s Ideal Home magazine, ending a long and often bitter scrap between the two publishing houses.

The battle could still be far from over, with IPC considering whether to appeal against what the company called Mr Justice Laddie’s “naturally disappointing” ruling.

However, Mark Simpson, chief executive of Highbury House, said the battle had been a “significant distraction” for the company and was looking to claim the maximum level of legal fees from IPC as possible.

He said: “I am delighted that this action has now been resolved.

“We will be glad to put the disruption that it has caused behind us and get back to concentrating on what we do best – publishing magazines which compete strongly in their markets. 

IPC hit back by claiming the complaint was lodged only to “protect our journalists and designers and to protect the principle of copyright”, a issue it considered a fundamental to the industry.

A defiant statement from IPC said: “We will continue to vigorously defend the creativity and originality of our journalists.

“A picture tells 1,000 words - have a look for yourself and make your own mind up.”

The two titles are poles apart in terms of sales, with the most current figures available showing circulation of 271,000 for IPC’s Ideal Home and 61,500 for Highbury’s Home.

By Kevin May

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