Section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988) contains an exception, which previously limited copyright protection for certain artistic works when they have been industrially manufactured. An item is considered to have been industrially manufactured when more than 50 copies of these artistic works are made; at that point the period of protection for the item in question is limited to 25 years, a huge reduction compared with other artistic works, which are protected by copyright for the lifetime of the author, plus 70 years.
From 28 July 2016, however, all types of artistic works will have copyright protection for the life of the author plus 70 years. Importantly, this applies to copyright works which are already being freely copied by virtue of the exception provided by Section 52 of the CDPA 1988. There are some transitional provisions, but these are not particularly generous and so it is quite possible that UK businesses will suddenly find themselves infringing copyright, when they had previously been trading perfectly legally.
The transitional provisions provide that from 28 July 2016, you may not make or import new copies of artistic works, unless they were contracted before 16.30 on 28 October 2015, assuming you don’t have permission from the rights holder or an exception applies.
From 28 January 2017, you may not deal with any replicas or unauthorised copies which were produced relying on Section 52 of the CDPA 1988; by this date, all of these items must have been sold or destroyed, unless you have permission from the rights holder or can rely on one of the exceptions provided by the Act.
The position is particularly difficult for organisations which have entered into a contract for items produced in reliance on Section 52 of the CDPA 1988, since 28 October 2015, as those items must all be sold or destroyed by 28 July 2016, which is a relatively short sell-off period.
Further guidance for individuals, organisations and business affected by this change in the law has been issued by the Intellectual Property Office and can be found on this link.
Please feel free to contact your usual attorney here at Scott & York IP Law, if you would like to discuss the matter further.
Article prepared by Cathy Ayers[:]