On 23rd May 2012 Mr Vince Cable the Government's
Business Secretary presented the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
Bill 2012/13 to Parliament. The Bill includes some copyright and
design-related provisions. Principal amongst these is the repeal of
Section 52 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988
("CDPA"). This will be welcomed by designers who have
long complained of the unfairness of Section 52 CDPA.
Section 52 CDPA
This limits the duration of copyright to 25 years for artistic
works that have been exploited (with the copyright owner's
consent) by the making of articles, using an industrial process, to
the copyright design. An artistic work under CDPA means (a) a
graphic work, photograph, sculpture or collage, irrespective of
artistic quality, (b) a work of architecture being a building or a
model for a building, or (c) a work of artistic craftsmanship.
An article is considered to have been made using an industrial
process when more than 50 articles are made. The period of
copyright protection is 25 years from when the exploitation
Duration of other Copyright
By comparison the duration of copyright in most other forms of
protected works, such as literary, dramatic and musical works is
the creator's life plus 70 years.
Repeal of Section 52
As a result of this Bill designers of artistic works will enjoy
the same period of protection as other copyright works. The repeal
of Section 52 will bring the UK copyright law into line with
virtually all other European countries. The repeal is not
Other design provisions
The Bill also enables the copyright exceptions set out in CDPA
to be amended by Secondary legislation. It remains to be seen what
changes might be made and how this power will be used. This follows
on from the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth
published in May 2011. The Review identified five exceptions as
being important to economic growth namely, exceptions for
format-shifting, parody, non-commercial research and library
archiving and an exception to support text and data analytics.
The Bill has now commenced its passage through both Houses of
Parliament and is therefore subject to the will of Parliament, but
it is to be hoped, on behalf of designers, that the repeal of
Section 52 passes into law.
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