27 July 2016Copyright

UK copyright law repeal to breathe life into works

The repeal of section 52 of the UK’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (CDPA) 1988 is to be enacted from July 28, meaning that some copyright will be extended or revived.

In April this year, following a consultation the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) announced that the repeal of section 52 would take effect on Thursday, July 28.

Section 52 of the CDPA 1988 had provided a reduced term of copyright protection for artistic works which had been industrially manufactured. More than 50 works have been made and the reduced term that was granted was 25 years from first marketing, instead of 70 years plus life of the author.

Law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has outlined the changes that the repeal will have on UK copyright law.

These include clarifying that “all artistic works will be protected by copyright for the full term of 70 years plus the life of the author. This will lead to copyright being revived in those works which previously fell under section 52 where over 25 years have passed since they were marketed”.

There is also a six-month depletion period covering existing stock and products that were ordered under a contract dated before October 28, 2015 (the date of the consultation) for later delivery which may still be sold until January 28, 2017, but after that the copyright owner's permission will be required.

Joel Smith, IP partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, told WIPR: "The revival of copyright for these types of artistic works will impact upon manufacturers, particularly of furniture, lighting and jewellery, where iconic designs which are now mass produced may come back into copyright protection for a further period.

"The government has decided on a blunt solution in the light of a successful judicial review of the original legislation. This may leave many businesses at risk on products they have been selling unchallenged for years and with little notice to change their advance inventory."

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More on this story

15 December 2015   The UK government is proposing to bring the copyright protection term for designs into line with other existing works and is seeking the views of the public on how it should be implemented.
31 January 2017   A transition period implemented following the repeal of section 52 of the UK’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 ended last week.