UK: Repeal of Amendment to Increase Length of Copyright Protection of Industrially Manufactured Articles

30 November 2015, London

The UK government has revoked the Commencement Order (Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013) that would have repealed section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 in 2020.

Section 52 currently limits copyright protection for artistic works which have been industrially manufactured: where more than 50 copies of any such artistic works have been made by or with the licence of the copyright owner, the period of copyright protection is limited to 25 years. If repeated, the default term for copyright protection would apply: 70 years from the death of the creator. Hence the repeal, when it happens, will very significantly extend the duration of copyright protection for industrially manufactured artistic works, such as some furniture.

The repeal of Section 52 was brought in by section 74 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which remains in force. However, there is now no set date for when Section 52 will be repealed. The government has said that it revoked the Commencement Order following a claim for judicial review challenging its compatibility with EU law and that it has launched a fresh consultation on transitional arrangements, including the date for implementing the repeal of section 52.

Originally published in DesignWrites 7th Edition.

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