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The Year that the Eurovision Song Contest was Cancelled

By Beth Brown, Marketing Executive

Unfortunately, this year for the safety of the nation many scheduled activities have had to be cancelled. Some people will be most sad that the Olympics have been postponed, I imagine several will be finding Glastonbury’s cancellation the most upsetting, for others it’ll be the UEFA Euro or the Formula One races; but for me the event cancellation which has hit the hardest is the Eurovision Song Contest.

The cheesy music, extravagant costumes, the discussion as to why Australia get to compete, the outgoing artists, the hosts’ costume changes and not to mention the hilarious commentary by Graham Norton if you watch the show in the UK; this year our houses will not be blessed with the joy that is Eurovision.

In the grand scheme of things cancelling Eurovision is merely a drop in the water. However, as a huge fan of the competition I wanted to pay homage to it but looking at times when Eurovision and IP have crossed into each other’s worlds.

There wouldn’t be a Eurovision without the public vote, as we jet from country to country via VC to see who each country has voted for. This key aspect is made possible by the invention of televoting as described in EP patent 0820680680. The patent description itself recognises the importance of Eurovision as it uses the song cost as an example when describing how the system works (see paras 29 and 34 of the description). Thank you televoting for helping make the song contest possible, so that we can see if anyone will be unlucky enough to get “nul points” (must be said in a French accent) each year.

Australia are no stranger to controversy when it comes to Eurovision (someone please explain to me again why they get to compete) but in 2016 they faced fire for the lyrics in their Eurovision song. The lyrics in question “trying to feel your love through face time” were thought by some to reference Apple’s FaceTime services. Under the rules of the contest “messages promoting any political cause, company, brand, products or services” are prohibited, however in this case it was determined that the song was not referring to the Apple product but merely having contact with someone face to face.

This wasn’t the first time that a contestant’s lyrics came under scrutiny. In 2012, San Marino’s entry included the word “Facebook” in the title however this was found to break the rules and so the song was renamed “The Social Network Song (Oh Oh Uh Oh Oh)”.  In 2005 Ukraine also had to rewrite the lyrics to their entry after they were deemed to be too political. Thanks both for creating the controversy which makes Eurovision all the more interesting.

One Estonian band decided to use their Eurovision fame to make some extra cash after competing in the 2005 contest. They decided to auction off the bands name, their “Vanilla Ninja” trademark. They auctioned off the rights to use the name save for musical activities which they retained the rights for. Since the sale the market has already seen the creation of Vanilla Ninja ice cream so who knows what’s next.

In 2011 the IPO made a ruling on the Bucks Fizz name dispute, you could say that they made their mind up… Bucks Fizz won the Eurovision song contest in 1981 and it was all plain sailing until several years later when the group split and there was debate over who could use the “Bucks Fizz” name. The court sided with Robert Gubby as it was him and his partner who owned the name, as they had registered the trade mark in 2001. This case highlighted the importance for musical groups to register a trade mark and also to have a partnership agreement in place if they do intend to own equal rights to the name. Take note if you’re a budding musician in a band.

I hope this article has brought some of the joy of Eurovision into your home, and if you want more then you can watch my favourite Eurovision moment here.