Today the provisions repealing section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act came into force. This section essentially limited the copyright granted to artistic works which were being mass produced to 25 years from the year of first production.
Designers of iconic goods whether in fashion, jewellery, furniture and home furnishings will benefit greatly from the significant extension of copyright protection. The new provision means that protection will be restored for a number of goods where protection had already lapsed and that the duration of the copyright will be increased to the whole of the designer’s life plus 70 years. This ensures that not only will the designer be able to benefit from their work during their lifetime, but they will also be able to ensure that their family continue to benefit following their death.
To qualify for copyright protection as an artistic work, the product must be original and, even though their has been no change to this section of the act, it will be interesting to see if a more restrictive approach will be taken to what qualifies an a artistic product now that the period of protection has been so significantly increased. Despite this, the Government will hope that the dangers of copyright infringement and the greater rewards for original design mean that designers seek to create more iconic products whilst also rewarding the designers of some the UK’s leading designers from the recent past.
The Government has put in place transitional arrangements to allow those that have previous copy designs which were out of copyright to sell their remaining stock, but this right will cease in January 2017 when any further sales will have to be authorised by the copyright owner.
From 28 July 2016, the shorter 25 year copyright protection for artistic works where over 50 articles had been made – that is, ‘industrially manufactured’ works – will be extended to the full term of 70 years, plus the life of the author.