Government Proposes Major Change in Copyright Law to Protect Manufacturers of Artistic Works.

Government Proposes Major Change in Copyright Law to Protect Manufacturers of Artistic Works.

The government has announced that it is to introduce a bill to extend the period of copyright protection afforded to certain artistic works. This followed lobbying by Powell Gilbert in support of a number of well known furniture designers and manufacturers.

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will repeal section 52 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. This section limits the term of protection for artistic works which had been produced through an industrial process to just 25 years. The new term of protection will be 70 years plus the life of the creator, bringing it into line with the term of protection in most other European Union states. Until now, the UK had been one of only three Member States (the others being Estonia and Romania) to place a limit on the term of copyright protection for qualifying designs.

Simon Ayrton, head of Powell Gilbert’s design and copyright group, said:

“In practice, the repeal of section 52 will mean that the creators of iconic furniture designs, such as the Eames Lounge Chair, Le Corbusier’s La Chaise and Arne Jacobsen’s Egg Chair, will be able to prevent the importation into the UK of inexpensively manufactured replicas from the Far East. In doing so, it will
ensure a fair and consistent treatment of artistic works in the UK, as well as promoting innovation in the design industry and encouraging investment in new products.”

The Design Council has commented on the significance of the bill here: http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/

Full details of the bill can be found at: http://news.bis.gov.uk/Press-Releases/Enterprise-and-Regulatory-Reform-Billpublished-67a68.aspx

Notes to Editors:
Powell Gilbert LLP