July 26, 2016

Copyright changes to come into force

Changes to intellectual property law, set to take effect later this month, will extend the length of copyright protection for certain artistic works.

The decision to repeal Section 51 of the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act has been welcomed by Royds. The firm is a member of the Intellectual Property Lawyers’ Association, who had been campaigning for the change for some time.

Under the current regime, Section 52 provides that the duration of copyright for certain artistic works that have been commercially exploited will last for a period of 25 years from the year the work was first marketed.

Work is commercially exploited if more than 50 copies are industrially manufactured.  For most other works, the period of the copyright is the life of the maker, plus another 70 years.

However, as of July 28th, those artistic works that have been industrially manufactured, will continue to enjoy copyright protection long after the 25 year period has elapsed, and even after the author’s (or creator’s) death.

Stephen Welfare, Royds Partner and a specialist in Intellectual Property law, said: “This is of significant importance to designers such as jewellers and fashion designers creating and manufacturing qualifying goods.”

It is worth noting that there will be a transition period so that from July 29th, new copies of artistic works which have had their copyright protection reinstated, can nevertheless be made or imported into the UK, with some exceptions.

This ends on January 28th, 2017.  From that date, any copies of an artistic work which previously did not infringe copyright by reason of Section 52, will now do so and so anyone making or importing, selling or offering for sale such copies, will be doing so unlawfully.

Anybody with stock or such products should destroy them unless they are authorised to sell them by the copyright owner, and that will usually involve entering into a licence.

You can read Stephen’s recent blog on this subject here.

At Royds, our experts can provide comprehensive advice on all aspects of intellectual property law affecting business. For more information please visit or contact Stephen Welfare or John North.

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