Posted by Stephen Welfare, Partner
Key change in copyright law this week – could you be impacted?
As I reported last summer, Section 52 of the UK’s Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988) was repealed on 28 July 2016. A consequence of the change was to bring certain works of artistic craftsmanship back into ‘copyright’. This change could have a significant effect in many sectors. The transitional period ends tomorrow on 28 January 2017. If you are in one of the sectors that could be impacted, including the jewellery industry, here is what you need to know.
End of transitional period
After 28 January, no works created in reliance on section 52 CDPA 1988 should be dealt with. By this date, they must be sold, destroyed, or their use authorised by the owner of the copyright – excluding those works which fall within one of the exceptions to copyright in the CDPA 1988.
The repeal is likely to affect a number of sectors, for example furniture design and also jewellery designs. Do items that are cast from a mould, such as jewellery and furniture, and then have many copies manufactured actually qualify for copyright protection? Well it depends on whether they can be considered to have artistic quality (almost certainly) and be a work of craftsmanship (probably not). Most jewellery items are produced from a master pattern that itself is a work of artistic craftsmanship and so protected in copyright. Such items now have an extended life of copyright protection, thanks to the Section 52 repeal.
Sale of goods
Some retail stockists might have been trying to clear their replica stock before the deadline of 28 January to avoid potential liability for copyright infringement. As the repeal also applies to second hand goods – dealers and charity shop owners can also be liable for dealing with infringing copies of artistic works after the date of the repeal or expiry of the transition period. If you are in these categories, it’s important to note that merely possessing a protected item will not constitute an infringement, unless there is an intention to sell. After tomorrow any such items must be removed from offer for sale.
If you would like to discuss copyright protection, or any intellectual property matters, you can find me at the Spring Fair between 5 & 7 February. Make your way to the National Association of Jewellers’ stand (Hall 17 / P20) or contact me on:
07825 274 633 Email us