January 27, 2017

Key change in copyright law this week – could you be impacted?

copyright protection

End of transitional period

After 28 January, no works created in reliance on section 52 CDPA 1988 should be dealt with. By this date, they must be sold, destroyed, or their use authorised by the owner of the copyright - excluding those works which fall within one of the exceptions to copyright in the CDPA 1988.

The repeal is likely to affect a number of sectors, for example furniture design and also jewellery designs. Do items that are cast from a mould, such as jewellery and furniture, and then have many copies manufactured actually qualify for copyright protection? Well it depends on whether they can be considered to have artistic quality (almost certainly) and be a work of craftsmanship (probably not). Most jewellery items are produced from a master pattern that itself is a work of artistic craftsmanship and so protected in copyright. Such items now have an extended life of copyright protection, thanks to the Section 52 repeal.

Sale of goods

Some retail stockists might have been trying to clear their replica stock before the deadline of 28 January to avoid potential liability for copyright infringement. As the repeal also applies to second hand goods – dealers and charity shop owners can also be liable for dealing with infringing copies of artistic works after the date of the repeal or expiry of the transition period. If you are in these categories, it’s important to note that merely possessing a protected item will not constitute an infringement, unless there is an intention to sell. After tomorrow any such items must be removed from offer for sale.

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