The length of copyright protection in the UK for mass-produced artistic works is to increase in line with other artworks, as of 6 April 2020.
This change comes as a result of a Government consultation with interested parties in autumn last year. The Report was published on 18 February 2015.
Currently, there is a disparity between the copyright protection available for artistic works under s4 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (“the Act”) and artistic works exploited” by an industrial process” within s52 of the Act.
As a result of this change, mass-produced artistic works will also benefit from protection for the lifetime of the creator, plus a further 70 years after their death. The Government’s aim is to ‘bring about the fair treatment of all types of artistic works and to reward those that innovate and inspire.’
Notably the change will not take effect until 2020. This five year delay has been criticised by artists and designers who fear that this delay could mean the rights in their designs may still be infringed in the near future.
In response, the Government has stressed the importance of allowing a ‘fair and proportionate transition period’ to enable affected businesses sufficient time to adjust to the change and no doubt prevent an influx of copyright infringement claims.
It is intended that this will minimise any unnecessary harm to UK manufacturers and importers.