Designs & Copyright
Posted on 12/6/2013

Important change to UK copyright law

Section 52 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 has been repealed.

Section 52 limited the usual copyright term of life of the author, plus 70 years to a mere 25 years for certain artistic works, i.e. artistic works that are mass produced (more than 50 made).

This update to the UK legislation will bring the UK in line with EU Law.  Most other EU countries do not limit the term of copyright for artistic works which are manufactured on an industrial scale and therefore enjoy the full copyright term of life of the author, plus 70 years.

This change will enable manufacturers and distributors of design classics (for which the copyright protection has expired under the old law and will be reactivated under the new law) to be able to bring legal proceedings to stop the manufacture, distribution, import and sale of replicas in the UK.

The exact date of implementation of this change to UK copyright law has not yet been finalised nor is the exact details of how it will be applied.  It has however been proposed that existing replicas should not be affected by this change and that the change should only apply to newly imported or manufactured replicas. This is intended to provide a transition period enabling business, currently dealing with replicas, to make adjustments to their business plan enabling them to comply with the change in law. If you believe the change in law could impact your business or if you would like to discuss the changes in more detail, please contact us.

Wilson Gunn