UK copyright law to change

The Government has announced that the length of copyright protection in the UK for mass-produced artistic works will increase on 6 April 2020.

Under current legislation, copyright ceases to apply to works of art after 25 years if they are produced in editions of 50 or more. This means that these works can be reproduced without seeking permission from the original creator.

The change in the law will mean that from 6 April 2020, these mass-produced works will also benefit from the copyright protection that other artworks currently have. In the UK, this is the lifetime of the artist or designer plus a further 70 years after their death.

DACS, the artists’ rights management organisation who were consulted on the issue, says that it will have the most benefit for ‘designers who create, in multiple copies, copyright-protected bespoke works demonstrating a high level of artistry and craftsmanship, such as certain types of jewellery, furniture, ceramics, textiles and even wallpaper.’

The change to the law is a result of the Government’s Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (ERR) Act, passed in April 2013, which aims to encourage business in the UK.

According to the Government’s report, the five-year delay is to allow for ‘firms that currently operate using existing laws to change how they do business so there will be a proportionate transition.’

Read the full report here.

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