Artistic works come back into copyright
Some artistic work previously out of copyright is protected once again following the repeal of Section 52 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988
Some artistic work previously out of copyright is protected once again following the repeal of Section 52 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013.
Coming into force this week (28 July 2016), ‘artistic works’ over 25 years old that have been industrially produced, including items like furniture and sculptures, will not be able to be copied without agreement from the original designer once again.
Under Section 52 artistic works that have been made by an industrial process (i.e. more than 50 have been made) had their term of protection limited to 25 years, meaning many iconic designs had fallen out of protection. The usual term for copyright is the author's life plus 70 and the repeal brings such works into line with the normal rule.
There will be a short grace period for copies made before 28 October 2015 with sellers having until 28 January 2017 to sell or destroy their stock.
The repeal was prompted by the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Flos v Semeraro and is an attempt to bring the UK law into line with EU law.
ITMA Designs and Copyright working group member John Coldham said: “Section 52 had the tacit effect of making copyright no more useful than registered design for the protection of the design of products. As a result, it has rarely been relied upon in the pursuit of copiers.
“However, removing the 25-year limitation could give owners of some designs dating back to the 1960s, or earlier, a new way to pursue copyists where previously there were no rights they could rely on, although it is only likely to be relevant to owners of really iconic designs that require true craftsmanship to produce.”